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STOW -- As a mom, daughter, sister, aunt and even great-aunt, Meghan Arlequeeuw looks forward to spending Mother's Day with her family.
But as a woman battling her fourth diagnosis of cancer, her family's support -- and that of many in the community -- is nothing short of "amazing" to her.
The mom of two Stow-Munroe Falls High School athletes was selected to throw out the first pitch at the SMFHS baseball team's first Cancer Awareness Game on April 18 against Cuyahoga Falls.
And waiting to snag the pitch was Nick, her son who is the team's catcher.
"It was really special with my mom being honored," says Nick, a junior. "I got to catch her first pitch."
Both Meghan and Nick credited baseball coach Aaron DeBord with choosing her and putting it all together, with plans for it to be an annual event.
Meghan said the honor of being chosen was "extra special."
For the game, the bases were painted pink and the players all wore pink during warmups.
Meghan and her husband, David -- who she describes as "my best support system" -- are parents to Nick and Ellie, a sophomore who plays softball. Both are also members of the school's bowling teams.
Meghan's first battle with cancer was at the age of 5, when she was diagnosed with Wilm's tumor, a cancer that primarily affects children. She remembers being in the hospital and undergoing 18 month of chemotherapy.
Then with Nick and Ellie only 3 and 2 years old respectively, she received her second cancer diagnois -- breast cancer.
"I don't think they understood the diagnosis as much when they were little," Meghan says. She remembers one time being at home after surgery and dealing with the physical aftermath and having Nick come into her room. "He looked at me and said 'Mommy, that's so sad. I love you so much.'"
It's been a part of their lives for 13 years now, with the third diagnosis showing the cancer had spread to her bones.
"We deal with the cancer battle with openness with them," Meghan says of her teens. "I let them know whenever I know something or hear something."
She says both have done a lot of soul searching and are active in the youth program at the First United Methodist Church in Cuyahoga Falls.
And then last August, while the family was on vacation, it was discovered the cancer had metastasized to her bone marrow.
Upon learning the news, Meghan says, Nick's first call was to the church's youth minister, the Rev. Katie Osier.
And Osier was there when Meghan threw out the first pitch.
"Meghan possesses a strength that comes from her faith and her love for her family, especially her children. Even when her body seems to slow her down, she harnesses her love to build her up enough to go wherever she needs to go to attend her children's travel and school games," shares Osier. "Meghan is Nick and Ellie 's biggest fan. To witness her sharing a mother and son moment in throwing out the first pitch of the Stow baseball game testifies to her determination to fight cancer through the power of faith and love."
Meghan describes the journey of her cancer as "difficult at times and super easy at other times."
"We just do what we normally do," she says. "We make a huge effort to spend a lot of time together, to make it special."
But, she adds, they also do the "normal day-to-day, especially sports."
Meghan was a second-grade teacher at West Main Elementary in Ravenna, but has been away from teaching for the last two years and on disability leave.
She is undergoing chemotherapy through University Hospital, which she says has been "an amazing hospital," but adds, " I don't see an end to this tunnel yet."
Meghan describes herself as "very upbeat and optimistic."
"But I'm also a realist," she says.
Her parents and three sisters live in Madison. And how will she be spending Mother's Day?
Doing what's so important to her -- spending time with her whole family and sharing in all their love and support.