Olympic dream dies, but wish lives for sick soccer player

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by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 3, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 4 at 8:15 AM

Ariel Jensen has loved soccer since she was a little girl. Her bedroom is filled with photos and awards.

"I've always just loved it," she said, "just being out there competing."

She loved soccer so much, she even wrote a book about it for a fourth grade project. It's called "The Sport that Changed My Life." It's the story of a little girl who longs to play soccer in the Olympics.

Reality, however, got this family hard a year-and-a-half ago. Ariel was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, a rare and sometimes fatal bone marrow disease. Ariel's mom, Jodi, had to break the news to her own daughter that she had a disease that could kill her at just 15 years old.

Jodi Jensen choked back tears as she recalled that day.

"Telling her that was....Ariel holds everything in and when I told her, her head just dropped. She was trying to be so brave," she said.

And brave Ariel has been. Ariel is fighting the disease, and winning. While not cured, she is the healthiest she's been since the diagnosis. Her mother believes it's a performance worthy of a gold medal.

"She has had dark, dark days and months. Absolutely, she deserves it," she said.

Ariel won't be competing in the London games, but she will be watching thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She will be there to see the women's team play in the Olympic semi-finals and is thrilled.

"Who wouldn't want to go to the Olympics?! It's something you will be up to see in your lifetime again,” she said.

It isn't the way this family would've written Ariel's life story, but it is a happy ending to this chapter.

"It's all coming to be," said her mom. "It's pretty special."

For more Olympics stories, go to the KING 5 Olympic Ozone.
 

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