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'KeiraStrong' day becomes an inspiration

Keira Enright, 7, is flanked by Massapequa girls

Keira Enright, 7, is flanked by Massapequa girls lacrosse players Kelsey O'Brien (#22) and Maddie Pimental (#14) last Wednesday at Adelphi University.

Keira Enright made her way to midfield at Adelphi University's Motamed Field on Wednesday night, greeted by a roaring ovation before the Nassau Class A girls lacrosse final.

The significance? Enright is a 7-year-old Massapequa girl battling leukemia. That she was able to walk out on her own was a testament to her progress. Enright couldn't get on the field back on April 4, when the Port Washington and Massapequa lacrosse teams hosted a "KeiraStrong" fundraiser in her honor.

Wednesday, though, the first-grader was in her element: in a lacrosse setting and grinning. "I feel OK right now," she said. "I know I'm getting better."

Keira was diagnosed in early March with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, her father, Jim Enright, said. He is a teacher at Weber Middle School in Port Washington and knew Massapequa coach Megan Zimmer from having coached youth lacrosse in Massapequa.

Port Washington coach Raquel Piraino spearheaded the April 4 fundraiser game and Massapequa dedicated its season to Keira. The Chiefs wore orange socks and ribbons (deviating from the school's blue and yellow) for leukemia awareness. The teams have combined to raise close to $4,000, which goes toward medical expenses, Jim Enright said. Friday, the Massapequa Lacrosse Club held an instructional clinic at John J. Burns Park that raised additional funds.

"I love the girls," Keira said. "They've all been really nice to me and they're fun."

Keira goes to the hospital every 10 days and will have 21/2 years of chemotherapy. But, her father said, Keira's form of leukemia has an 85-90 percent cure rate in children if caught early.

"She's a big sports fan, so just being able to get out and go to a game was so exciting for her," Jim Enright said. "What these schools have done means a lot to us."

Massapequa lost to Farmingdale, 15-7, but Kelsey O'Brien quickly found solace. "What happens for us on the field is nothing compared to her battle," the senior attack said. "Seeing Keira, looking lively and talking to all the girls, it's a nice way to end our season."

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