‘It was her signature color’: LCS wears pink, supports Bryant family after 11-month-old dies from heart defect
Published 6:36 pm Friday, August 18, 2023
Pink was the color of the night Thursday at Lafayette Christian School, and it was clear more than volleyball was on the mind of the players, coaches and fans in the stands.
The pink was honoring Blakely Bryant, an 11-month old who died in her mother, Brooke’s, arms last week, just a few short days of her first birthday. The family had been planning Blakely’s first birthday party after a year-long stay at the hospital due to a heart condition.
Blakely sister’s, MaryKahlen, plays on the LCS volleyball team, and in many ways the night was meant to show support for the entire Bryant family.
Blakely’s father, Adam Bryant, said his daughter was born with a rare congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The condition caused her left ventricle to not fully develop. She would have been a year old on Aug. 24.
“[Blakely] was a fighter. She was a heart warrior of heart warriors,” Adam said, noting his daughter defied doctors’ expectations, but she ultimately succumbed after multiple surgeries.
“She went peacefully. We didn’t know when, but we felt it was getting close,” he said.
Even though they knew it was coming, the family obviously took the loss hard, including Blakely’s older sister MaryKahlen, who is a Junior volleyball player at Lafayette Christian School.
MaryKahlen said her teammates had been praying for Blakely for some time and came up with the idea for the Pink Out to honor her after hearing of her passing.
“My sister, she wore a lot of pink while she was in the hospital. It was just kind of her signature color,” MaryKahlen said.
Lafayette volleyball coach Katie Firth said they were already planning to do a whiteout for their first game, but the girls suggested doing pink instead to honor Blakely.
Unlike the whiteout that the team had originally planned, the opposing team learned of the change and joined in to support Lafayette Christian. Firth explained they had a game against Calvary on the day that Blakely had passed when they learned of the plans.
“When we showed up, they obviously knew that we were not OK. So, they checked on us and found out what happened,” Firth said. “So then, on the day that we did our pink out, they wore pink in honor of Blakely as well.”
“They wanted to support our team by doing the same thing. So, it was really cool,” she said.
MaryKahlen, who has played volleyball since sixth grade, said the event really showed her the support of her teammates.
“It felt very good and made me feel loved and supported a lot, and it showed that they care,” MaryKahlen said.