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CWU Athletes Team Up to Help Ellensburg Student
11-year-old Avory Clark, surrounded by members of CWI's women's rugby team,  has been diagnosed with Samter's Triad.
11-year-old Avory Clark, surrounded by members of CWI's women's rugby team, has been diagnosed with Samter's Triad.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

BY ROBERT LOWERY

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Samter’s Triad is a medical condition consisting of asthma, sensitivity to aspirin and nasal polys. The cause is not fully understood, but it usually doesn’t develop until a person is in their twenties or thirties. Avory Clark, from Kittitas, has been diagnosed with the disorder. She’s only 11.
 
In response, Lincoln Elementary School students are teaming up with Central Washington University student-athletes to do something about it. During an assembly Friday at the Ellensburg elementary school, Lincoln students and CWU student-athletes agreed to perform community-service activities as a way to help Clark’s family with the considerable medical costs associated with the disorder.
 
That includes a recent 18-day trip to Denver, to National Jewish Health, regarded as the nation’s leading respiratory hospital, where Avory’s condition was officially diagnosed.
 
“We’re going to have a lot of bills coming in that are going to be overwhelming,” said Sean Clark, Avory’s dad. “It’s very emotional to see all the athletes from Central here to support Sparrow, plus my daughter and my family. It means a lot to us.”
 
The project is being conducted through the auspices of Sparrow Clubs USA. The nonprofit organization of school-based clubs, primarily in Washington and Oregon, assists children in medical crisis and their families, both financially and emotionally.

Or, as Nancy Wilson, Sparrow Clubs’ president, said at the assembly, “It’s really about helping kids, help kids. It’s all about having you do community service so that we can do things for Avory and her family.”
 
Kari Gage, CWU’s head athletic trainer and senior woman administrator, added, “All of our [CWU Athletics Department] community-service hours are going to go toward this cause. We’re also going to have a couple of kids days up on our campus, along with a a volleyball game with a Sparrow Club theme.”

Gage is helping lead CWU’s involvement in the Clark-family project.
 
It was announced during the assembly that an anonymous donor has agreed to give $10 per hour to the Clark family for every hour of community service performed by Lincoln students and CWU student-athletes.
 
“This, in my opinion, is one of the most important lessons you will ever learn in your life,” Lincoln’s principal, John Graff, told his students. “You have the ability to help somebody else. It’s a scientific fact that when you help others you feel better.” 
 
Wildcat student-athletes also distributed CWU t-shirts to the enthusiastic students at the event. Following the assembly, Clark had the chance to talk to and take pictures with a number of CWU student athletes, pictures in which she is seen wearing a big smile.
 
“I think it’s pretty cool,” said Avory. “It’s a once in a lifetime thing.”

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