Brianna Martin has been playing soccer since second or third grade. She has been battling Hodgkin lymphoma since March 2011.
Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that starts in lymphatic tissue. Lymphatic tissue includes the lymph nodes and related organs that are part of the body's immune and blood-forming systems.
"It was scary for my parents," Brianna said about her diagnosis. "But it was an obstacle that God put in my way."
When the 16-year-old received her diagnosis, she and her family turned to Blank Children's Hospital for care.
"Blank is great!" Cindy, Brianna's mom, said. "The doctors, nurses and Child Life counselors have been very understanding and helpful through the whole thing. They are all so awesome!"
Brianna would not let her cancer keep her off the soccer field. Shortly after her first biopsy and having her powerport surgically placed, Brianna insisted on playing in a game.
"There were times we would be coming home from chemotherapy in Des Moines and she would be so tired but wanted to go to her soccer games and sit on the bench with her teammates," Cindy said.
Thanks to her coach, Brianna was able to play whenever she felt well enough, and her teammates also showed their support by wearing wristbands with Brianna's jersey number. Soon, "iKick it like Bri" became a popular mantra.
"Brianna's motto, 'iKick it like Bri,' was decided between her, her sister and a friend," Cindy said. "She was ready to kick cancer like a soccer ball."
With her positive attitude and the support of her family and friends, Brianna keeps fighting on and off the field.
"We have become closer to one another and God," Cindy said. "We can get through anything together.