Caroline Betts could never have envisioned the first few months of her freshman year at Christ Presbyterian Academy.
And not just on the soccer field, where the second-year Lady Lion has scored 28 goals in just 11 matches for CPA (10-0-1), including seven consecutive hat tricks.
“I mean last season was great, but I could never imagine this,” said Betts, who tallied a team-leading 25 goals as an eighth-grader last fall.
Last Friday, however, the 15-year-old Betts received the shock of her life: Her mother, Holly, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“My mom came and pulled me out of school and told us,” said Caroline, the youngest of Holly and Jon Betts’ three children. “I mean it was obviously pretty devastating to hear your mom has cancer, but I feel like the Lord really comforted me.”
In some ways, it was Caroline’s play on the field that helped provide that sliver of comfort for her mom and her family.
“When I was waiting for the results of the biopsy, I just had to get away from the house and go be alone with the Lord,” said Holly, 47. “They told me they thought for sure it was cancer, and I was literally crying out to the Lord, ‘How are Jon and I going to tell the kids? How are we going to do this?’”
It was around that time that Holly received a text message. It was from Caroline’s soccer coach, Tom Gerlach, alerting her that Caroline, the #TNPreps girls athlete of the week, was going to be featured in Friday’s Tennessean.
The following morning, Jon received a similar text from a friend while in the doctor’s office waiting room, telling him that his daughter was in the newspaper.
“It was such a blessing,” Holly said. “The timing of, ‘Your mom has cancer, oh and by the way, here’s a newspaper article about you.’ It was a smile in the midst of tears. It was a blessing in the midst of hardship. I said, ‘OK Lord, this is just such perfect timing.’”
“I think it’s a God thing,” Caroline said. “He knew that this was going to be a hard thing, and I just think it’s so cool. He was like, ‘I’m going to give you this thing just to make things a little better for you and help you get through this.”