In October of 2016 I had the pleasure of meeting the most beautiful soul ever! She walked into try outs, sat down and was the loudest and never dropped a smile from her face. She was so full of life and excited to see her daughter do what she loves... play volleyball. I sat down with her (thinking she was her sister) and asked how long Lily had been playing volleyball. She said 2 years, but she loves the sport and will do anything to be on a team. She's a hard worker,never gives up and knows it will be an upward battle. I told her I was impressed by her and would love to speak to her parents when they pick her up. She laughed and said "I am her mom... everyone thinks she's my sister!" She expressed her overwhelming love for her daughter's happiness and that she feels that Lily needs volleyball because it's a great balance for all the negativity and bullying she gets at school. She said she sees great things coming from Lily and I couldn't agree more.
As you may have guessed, Lily made the team and was excited to get started. She worked hard and through sweat and many injuries she thrived and never gave up. All the while Mom never left her side and to be honest was the loudest one in the stands. Always asking what she could do to help Lily get better. Watching endless hours of volleyball just so she could be able to communicate better with Lily and asking me questions about certain volleyball terms and logistics. Her words " I want to yell at her and teach her these things, but I don't wanna sound stupid like I don't know what I'm talking about". Every tournament she was there, every practice she was there, and every team outting, fundraiser, meeting she was there. She became family to all of us at TX Champion Academy VBC. Even though she was the tiniest, she was the loudest. Our team excelled because of her never say never attitude and I for 1 loved having found a team mom like Cilla! She worked hard and was always tired from supporting her daughter's new endeavor, but she never missed anything TCA related.
The season ended and we had an end of year event at her lake house in June. There she dropped a bombshell on us all. She had mentioned she didn't feel well for a while and that she had a tumor in her stomach and how she made an appointment for a biopsy as well as a removal of a cyst they found. We were sure she would be fine since she was a fighter and an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. We kept in contact and were informed that she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and the outcome wasn't going to be good. Her and I spent many hours on the phone discussing her daughter's future through volleyball. She would say how she wants to fight this because she knows Lily will be a great volleyball player and she doesn't want to miss it! She began an aggressive form of chemo and dialysis to combat the cancer. All the while never losing hope when hope was not around.
Fast forward to the beginning of the school season. Even though she had dialysis and chemo every week she would find the strength to make the games of her lovely daughter. Cheering and screaming and being the mother that we all came to love and expect gave us a false sense of security that she was going to be fine. She never wanted us to remember her as gloomy and hurting. The cancer quickly spread and unfortunately she lost the battle on October 21st 2017. Never again would we hear "come on Lilly move your feet, jump, get there, great serve mama!, yeah babe, get it girl, or the one we heard most I LOVE YOU!" It came as a shock to us all. We were certain she was going to pull through. In all our conversations she never gave off a sign of how she felt. She never told me she was miserable, she never said she felt the end was near. Her main focus was always her daughter amd volleyball. She made us promise we wouldn't let her down. Made us promise that we would continue to push her harder. And above all promise her that we would make Lily the success she knows she will be. This picture above was taken at the end of the year tournament where Longfellow middle school won first place. The team decided to dedicate the win and the trophy to Cilla, that's how much of an impact she had on anyone she met.
This page is an effort to help alleviate some of the financial burden from a family who has lost a loved one but still manages to fulfill that loved ones wishes. We miss you everyday Cilla! Now you have a front row seat in heaven to watch Lily everytime she hits the gym floor. Thank you for your continued support.
- Teresa Sellers
- Taylor Neville
- Rachel Ramirez
- Florence Ramirez
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