In addition, Kayleigh was also born with a bicuspid aortic valve that was supposed to prevent her from playing soccer. Fast forward to her junior year in high school, she is captain of the Our Lady of Lourdes Girls Varsity soccer team as well as her high school premier soccer team.
According to their website, Positive Athlete (positiveathlete.org) looks to identify and recognize positive athletes “who have overcome difficult circumstances, given back to their schools and communities in a significant way, or just have an infectious positive attitude, and celebrate them with awards, corporately sponsored scholarships, and unique opportunities.” In addition, “for over 7 years, thousands of high school athletes have been nominated and over $250,000 in scholarships have been awarded.”
Despite her challenges, Kayleigh maintains an incredibly optimistic and positive attitude in sports and all that she does. Although she has continued to lose hearing in her left ear and has had many corrective surgeries, Kayleigh maintains a GPA of 96 or higher in honors, AP and college-level classes. Kayleigh was nominated for this award by the Lourdes Varsity Head Soccer Coach, Graham Fortunato, who states, “Kayleigh goes out of her way to make any teammate feel comfortable and consistently makes a positive impact on the team each and every day. As her coach, I often ask her for her input and I am truly amazed by how thoughtful she is and how the girls around her respect her.”
On Tuesday, July 23rd, Kayleigh was recognized at Citi Field as one of the state-wide award winners of the 2018-2019 Positive Athlete program. Kayleigh attended with her entire family along with soccer coach Fortunato and her Lourdes Golf coach Tony LaRocca. Upon receiving her award Kayleigh commented, “Being nominated and winning the Positive Athlete award means so much to me and has made me incredibly grateful that I have family, coaches, and teachers that motivate me to be the best teammate and person I can be, on the field and off.”
Coach Fortunato goes on to remark, “I am confident that with all the adversity that has been thrown Kayleigh’s way, she is more than prepared to face life’s challenges head-on. I believe she will be very successful in whatever career path she chooses and it is my true honor to be her coach.”