It’s amazing how a young girl’s courage could touch the hearts of so many people.
Organizers of the annual Elwood High School Boys Basketball Tournament have decided to change the name of the tournament to the Islaview Memorial Basketball Tournament in honour of Isla Short.
The three-and-a-half-year-old Isla, daughter of Michael and Sarah Short, died at the Janeway Children’s Hospital in St. John’s one week ago. The little girl who inspired Deer Lake to change its name to show support during a difficult time was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma in December 2015 and had been undergoing treatment at the Janeway as family and friends stayed connected to offer support along the way.
Evan Lodge, a member of the Junior Lakers who will participate in three exhibition games at the annual tournament taking place at Elwood this weekend, is responsible for getting tournament officials to recognize Isla in some way.
Lodge said he heard that the Deer Lake Red Wings were going to change the team’s name to Islaview Red Wings for this week so he thought it would be fitting for the basketball team to show respect so he tossed the idea to coach Jim Feltham who thought it was a great gesture.
“Isla touched everybody’s heart in Deer Lake,” Lodge said.
Isla’s parents have been big supporters of the Lakers, both of them former players who shined on the hardwood for their school and also involved with coaching the sport and supporting it as a sponsor through their businesses before their daughter became ill.
“I didn’t know her personally but when she passed away it had an affect on me because seeing a little girl or any kid go through that hurts a lot, especially seeing all that she went through,” he said.
Isla’s parents will be on hand for a special welcoming ceremony Friday before the host Lakers tangle with Lewisporte Collegiate in a round-robin game scheduled for 3:15 p.m. at the Elwood High School gymnasium.