This is a story of evolution. Not of monkey to man. But of a beautiful teenage girl that had the determination to evolve from wheel chair to walker to crutches to surf board!
Growing up, Hagan was an extremely active individual who competed on her high school cross country team. Over time, she began to have a recurring pain shooting down her leg. As an avid runner trying to keep in shape for her team, doctors reassured Hagan that it was just a side effect from her running. Hagan’s pains continued though and after multiple misdiagnosed culprits the doctors finally ordered her to do an MRI scan that ended up changing her life forever. A few days after the MRI revealed Hagan had Ewing’s Sarcoma, a bone cancer of the pelvis, she was already starting her first round of chemo treatments. This is the point in the story where we see the reverse evolution, or regression.
Hagan’s family and friends watched as the active teenager reverted to someone almost unable to move at all. On the outside, the display was disheartening. However, on the inside, Hagan was determined to get back to the lively, vigorous and energetic young woman she was.
When Hagan started her physical therapy, she told her physical therapist that they would do the therapeutic curriculum required with one goal in mind - she wanted to surf.
Above all things, Hagan favored doing anything in the snow or water. She had always wanted to learn how to surf and she wasn’t going to let this little bump in the road hinder her from scratching this off her to-do list. The two worked hard for six months to get the now 18 year-old ready for her Make-A-Wish trip to Hawaii.
Hagan and her family landed on the volcanic islands with one goal in mind - to conquer the surf board. Soon the entire family was in the sand taking surf lessons in Kihei Cove. Everyone took a deep breath as Hagan took to the water for her first attempt at surfing. Within seconds, Hagan hoisted herself to a standing position on the board and she was up! The long road of evolution that started with a life-threatening diagnosis ended surfing on the waves of Hawaii.
“We were amazed to see Hagan up on the surf board after the year we had”, said Monique, Hagan’s mom. “We had to take pictures of this miracle to prove to the doctor’s that they were wrong about Hagan needing a walking cane.”
The image of Hagan on the surf board will forever be with the family as well as the many other exciting experiences that awaited them in Hawaii. When the family wasn’t soaking in the laid back culture, they were busy enjoying a snorkel tour and glass bottom boat ride at Ma’alaea Harbor and a parasailing adventure on the oceanside of Whaler’s Village.
Sometimes a vacation can be a relaxing break from your hectic everyday routine, but in Hagan’s case it opened the pages to a new chapter in her life!
This Fall, Hagan will start her freshman year at Texas A&M University.