As a pretty avid NBA fan in general, and a Jeremy Lin fan even before Linsanity, I was well aware of Coach Kevin McHale’s leave of absence from the Rockets due to his daughter being sick. I was very sad to read this afternoon that his daughter Sasha passed away yesterday at the age of 23 (some articles say she was 22).
But I was surprised to read that she apparently died of complications from her battle with lupus. I don’t think the McHale family has ever made it known previous to this that she suffered from lupus. As someone who has kept my lupus diagnosis pretty close to the vest, I can understand not wanting to publicize it to allow her to maintain some semblance of normalcy as she went through school and as I’m sure they hoped she would go on to have a successful career in whatever her chosen profession was to be. Sadly, but somewhat understandably, there will always be a level of prejudice in the workplace against those of us who suffer from chronic illness that has the potential to be quite debilitating.
I feel awful for the McHale family and am praying for them tonight. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to bury a child and it must be especially difficult in some ways that Sasha was at the age where her adult life was really just about to begin. I hope that they will become advocates against this awful disease that robbed them of their beautiful daughter long before her time. It’s sad but the fact is that diseases tend to remain relatively obscure until enough celebrity voices, usually those who have been personally affected, bring attention to them. Kevin McHale is in a unique position, with access to many NBA superstars and he could do a lot to bring awareness to the struggles that those of us with lupus face on a daily basis.