The fortitude required to make it through the stretch run of a tight playoff race comes easier to some than it does others. Dash forward Jamia Fields knows firsthand what it means to truly fight for something, as last year she saw firsthand with her cousin Nyda, who battled pediatric cancer. Seeing someone so close to her go through such a devastating illness has allowed Jamia to put the importance of a soccer season in perspective.
“The way she lived through her pain on daily basis, while still finding the energy to be kind, selfless, and full of joy, has truly changed the way I will face any challenge moving forward in life,” Fields said in her eulogy for Nyda in 2020. “I believe a person is truly defined by how they live through pain, and in my eyes, Nyda conquered that. She truly lived, way wiser than her years, which at times, had me question who was the older cousin.”
When Nyda was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 at the age of 11, it was a shock to the entire Fields family. Up until that point, Nyda had been an active and athletic little girl whose love of volleyball created a bond between her and her professional soccer playing older cousin. For Fields, the hardship of the disease was only matched by the strength Nyda exhibited in the face of it.
"Seeing someone who was hurting so bad at such a young age being so positive was something I can't put words to," Fields said.
The experience left quite an impact on Fields, who used her platform to amplify Nyda’s story and to raise awareness of pediatric cancer. As part of Dynamo Charities Week, Fields auctioned off a pair of custom cleats featuring Nyda’s name and a childhood cancer ribbon.
For Fields, being able to make something positive out of Nyda’s experience is important because of how positive Nyda was during her fight. Amplifying this message is an important goal for Fields.
“I just think it's important to amplify and highlight these kids who are fighting a disease that they don't deserve to have,” Fields said. “It’s the attitude during the fight is what matter and we can apply that to our lives."
Hopefully everybody can take some of the same lessons Jamia learned from Nyda.