In only 10 minutes, Avery Bieber’s freshman year of college took an unexpected turn. During her first collegiate soccer game – just 10 minutes into the match – she tore her ACL and would not be able to play the rest of the season.
This was not the only significant life event happening at the time. Even though Avery would be on the bench, her soccer team wanted to do something extraordinary for her family when they learned what was happening with her dad.
In April of 2018, Avery’s dad, Andy, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem tumor. He received a multitude of treatments, including radiation, chemotherapy, and natural supplements. In May 2019, Andy’s tumor grew considerably and unexpectedly. It was at that time that his tumor was upgraded to Glioblastoma stage IV and he began new treatments.
The new treatments caused the tumor to shrink a bit, but there are many physical and neurological deficits that Andy now lives with, including the emotional and financial strain on him, his wife and their children. He’s been unable to work or drive or perform many activities of daily living since his surgery to repair his hydrocephaly which was caused by the tumor location. His wife is his caretaker, and continues to manage their home as well.
On September 21, the LBC women’s soccer team and the LBC Athletic Department hosted a benefit game for the Bieber family. T-shirts were given for a donation of any kind to help the family with medical expenses and there was a bake sale at the men’s and women’s soccer games that day. In total, the family received $7,000 to help with medical expenses.
“I have so many words to describe how I felt on that day,” Avery said. Emotions ranging from being absolutely grateful even to being a little overwhelmed! It was crazy how many people wanted to help my family!”
While the initial shock of the injury at the start of the season leaves Bieber disappointed, she has begun to see how it has all been a part of God’s plan for her life.
“God had a real plan for me here at Lancaster Bible College,” Avery said. “He kept me healthy throughout high school and led me here, because here, I have gotten so much support from every single one of my teammates … the girls here have simply been amazing.” She said after her injury, she heard from every player on Lancaster Bible College’s 37-man roster and they have helped change her perspective of the injury.
The latest scans show Andy’s tumor is stable. Despite all of this, he’s still been able to continue coaching high school soccer, and while it looks much different than before his diagnosis, the opportunity to mentor and be an inspiration to the young men on his team is immeasurable.
“My dad has been amazing, dedicating his time to his family and coaching,” said Avery. “He treats his team as his own sons, and is still a devoted and supportive father.” She said through all of her dad’s trials since April 2018, he is the one who is continually giving support to others. “I think most people would retreat and want to get support from others during something like this, but my dad has been the one giving himself every day – it’s unbelievable,” she said.