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Vista freshman takes life one day at a time

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Three years ago, Cassidy Sidhu wasn’t sure how long she would live.

Plagued by headaches, she was taken to the doctor and eventually diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in January of 2010. Sidhu immediately had surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments followed.

Fast forward to today and Sidhu is a vibrant teenager. As a 14-year-old freshman at Vista del Lago High, Sidhu plays on the varsity softball team and is a member of the school’s dance team. Softball and dance are two of her passions, as she’s been involved with both since she was 4. Sidhu also likes horses and she loves to do her own nails. Her collection of nail polish rivals something you might see in a salon.

Her recovery has been remarkable. Although still in her brain, the tumor has shrunk. She’s been off treatment for two years and has scans every three months to check its size.

“It’s been a miracle,” said Lisa, her mom.

Sidhu began dancing again in the summer of 2011 and softball soon followed. The Folsom Girls Softball Association named an award in her honor, called the Cassidy Sidhu Award, given to the Most Inspirational Player, and Sidhu was the first recipient.

Her life now is almost normal, aside from the brain scans every few months.

“It feels good to be like everyone else,” Sidhu said. “It was definitely a hard time and I struggled with it a lot, but my family and friends kept me going and helped me stay positive.”

As a member of Vista’s dance team, Sidhu practices twice a week for about two hours. The team performs during football games in the fall and at home basketball games in the winter. In the spring, practices pick up to five days a week as the squad practices for its spring show.

Sidhu’s dad, Sham, teaches physical education at Vista. He has been her softball coach since day one. Sidhu started the season as her dad’s catcher and No. 2 hitter for the junior varsity team.

“She was playing really well; picking up where she left off,” Sham said. “She was one of the catalysts on the team.”

Last month, however, Sidhu was pulled up to the varsity team, as varsity coach Robert Reed needed some reinforcements to his injury-riddled roster. Despite not having her dad as coach, Sidhu said she’s enjoyed her time playing at the varsity level.

As she’s settled into a typical, everyday life as a teenager, Sidhu has a different perspective on life than most of her classmates.

“I just live my life one step at a time,” Sidhu said.

Her mom said the brain tumor has changed her daughter’s attitude.

“She doesn’t sweat the small stuff,” Lisa said. “She’s had to mature faster and she appreciates every moment. You never know when your life is going to be turned upside down because of a couple headaches.”

Sham added, “I’m just thankful she has the opportunity to be a teenager and go through the trials and tribulations that teens go through.”

Though she’s only a freshman, Sidhu knows what she’d like to do in the future.

“I hope to continue dancing, work with kids and be in the fashion industry,” she said.