Elson shares faith at FCA event

| February 12, 2018

COSHOCTON – Teens enjoyed pizza, fellowship, music and an inspirational message by Michaela Elson, a 2012 graduate of River View High School at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes event held Sunday evening, Feb. 11 at Coshocton High School. John Strasser, who heads up the organization with help from his wife Debbie, said, “This would not be possible without the help of local administrators, coaches and chaplains, who all volunteer their time to help guide these young people.”

Following several praise band songs, and a Coshocton student sharing how she summoned the courage with the help of a teacher to give devotion at a meeting, Elson took the stage to share her story of faith and courage.

Michaela Elson lost her mom Diane, to cancer in early 2013, after she fought a courageous fight and lived well beyond the amount of time that the doctors had given her. Michaela said that her mom, “Wanted to see her only daughter graduate from high school. She did that and also saw me through my first semester of college. My mom was definitely my hero and you never once saw her without a smile on her face. My goal is to replicate that throughout the rest of my life.”

Michaela is now a third year elementary school teacher in the New Philadelphia City School district and said that during her first year of teaching, “I was in a dark place. I had a lot of ‘why’ questions.”

Following several weeks of pain, being unable to sleep and numerous trips to various doctors, Michaela was diagnosed with sarcoma at the age of 23. “I had lived in fear of this since I was 15. One night, before a mission trip, our pastor told us we had to leave everything at the altar. I did that, and I felt a sense of peace wash over me.”

“Courtesy of our church I had the best support system. Courtesy of God’s will alone. People kept telling me that I was an inspiration to them. I never once doubted what was going to happen to me. I never once doubted the decisions that were being made. By the grace of God alone. Even with chemo Sunday’s were for church. Those are the people that pulled me through. Why are you doing this with a smile on your face? Because that’s how mom did it.”

Following a spaghetti dinner at her church (Coshocton Christian Tabernacle), Michaela passed out and another week of tests confirmed that the chemo had not worked. After many more tests, Michaela lost her leg to amputation in August and was fitted with prosthesis. “People asked me, are you angry, are you mad, are you questioning the decisions that were made and I never did. God has a purpose and a plan. All throughout my teaching career, my question has been, ‘what’s my impact?’ What more can I be doing?”

“We all want to make an impact. People still come up to me and tell me how much of an impact my mom made. That’s the kind legacy I want to leave. I’ve tried to become her in every regard. Michaela stunned her therapist with her rapid progress. She said, “Every person that comes in here, you’re having an impact. They want to be like you.”

“Every person that you talk to, every life that you come in contact with, you’re leaving your mark, you’re leaving a legacy. The people that I meet on a daily basis, I can either build them up or I can tear them down. And that’s really what I’ve learned throughout this entire thing.”

“God has a reason for all that he does. God is trying to use you to make an impact. If I can make an impact on you and you can take that and go to someone else, then here we are. That is my legacy and that is what I’m trying to leave.”

As she wound down her talk, Michaela shared that the cancer free life she led for a few months has been shattered by being diagnosed once again with cancer. Now back to treatments and the old normal, while still trying to leave a legacy, she said, “This is the one thing that creeps into my mind every day that I want you guys to think about. What are you doing on a daily basis to make your impact? What are you doing? If I could go back to high school I could direct more people to God. You are the reason that this auditorium will one day be filled. Don’t let people tell you that you are too young. Age means nothing. It’s your time to shine. This is your moment. Get to whatever the legacy is that God is leading you toward.”

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    Category: Faith

    Mark Fortune

    About the Author ()

    I live with my beautiful wife Nancy on a small farm just outside Coshocton. We have been married for thirty two years and have two grown children, Jessica and Jacob. Jessica is married to Aaron Mencer and they are employed with Coshocton City Schools. Jacob is a sophomore at Kent State University. I graduated from River View High School, have a Bachelor’s Degree from North Carolina Wesleyan University and am actively involved with the Roscoe United Methodist Church, serve on several local committees and am a member of the Coshocton Kiwanis Club, having served as Past-President. I love reading, especially military thrillers, the Civil War and history in general. My goal is to write a novel. My wife and I are also AdvoCare distributors and encourage anyone wanting to lose weight, gain energy and better health to explore AdvoCare at our website; www.fortunes4advocare.com. I love the media field, innovative technology and have worked in newspapers for over 30 years – in fact, my first job was delivering newspapers. The Beacon is a dream made possible by the support of this community and a great team. I hope to continue serving Coshocton County for many years.