COPPERAS COVE — Ariel McDonald doesn’t fear any opponent in the wrestling match — boy or girl.
The 14-year-old soon-to-be freshman wrestles for the Cove Dawg Wrestling Club and plans to compete at the high school level.
“I love wrestling,” she said. “I didn’t always, but my dad is very passionate about it, and one day I went to one of his events and just fell in love.”
She has wrestled for three years, but for the last three weeks she’s pledged all of her take-downs, pins, and wins to the Pin Cancer campaign.
Since 2009, Ariel has watched her father battle terminal cancer.
“At first I didn’t really understand what was going on because I was so young,” she said. “But now, I see the pain he is in. But he doesn’t let that get him down. He keeps fighting.”
Her father, Milton McDonald, was told he had until Christmas 2009 to live, but he didn’t let that prognosis discourage him.
“My dad was there and he looked at all of us and said, ‘It’s not over till God says so,’ and from that moment, we decided not to give up,” Ariel said.
Milton McDonald has wrestled for 37 years and is still going strong, while his daughter has a simple goal.
“I want to be as good as my daddy — better even,” she said. “When I wrestle for Pin Cancer, I feel like I am wrestling for him.”
Ariel was quick to point out that she doesn’t carry the disease onto the mat with her because she would be far too emotional. Friends such as Doug Weldon of Belton keep her focused on the task at hand.
“I try too hard and end up getting too worked up on doing well,” she said. “So I focus on what I have to do to win, and Doug has been such a huge part of that.”
Milton McDonald also is engaged in the Pin Cancer campaign. “We won’t let this get us down. I wake up every day and know it’s a blessing. I want to do this campaign with my daughter, so we can spend quality time together, because I don’t know how much time I have.”
To pledge donations to the McDonalds’ achievements on the mat, go to pincancer.org.