Scholar-Athlete: Meghan McMurray conquers athletics, academics and alopecia

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – When describing Cardinal O’Hara senior Meghan McMurray, her soccer coach, Stephanie Allaire summed it up best:

“I always said she’s a brick wall, no one could get through her.”

No one and nothing. Not even a disease.

“It’s incredible what she can tackle and conquer,” Allaire said.

McMurray is our female April scholar-athlete with a 3.92 GPA while excelling in Varsity soccer, bowling, track and cheerleading.

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, she did it while battling alopecia.

“Alopecia is an auto-immune disease so your immune system attacks your hair follicles and then your hair starts to fall out. So it started in 8th grade and I had little patches all over and then it started to get worse and worse so my aunt shaved my head for me,” McMurray explained.

She was completely bald her freshman year at Cardinal O’Hara and during that time had to get over 500 steroid shots for treatment.

“It was very difficult, I tried not to show it and then eventually it just didn’t bother me anymore. I originally started wearing hats and then I just got rid of the hats and I just didn’t let it bother me. After that my confidence grew and that’s when I really started to enjoy being at school,” McMurray said.

Her teammates helped with that too.

“Everyone was very supportive of me and they would always ask me questions and I’d be very open, I would tell them anything they wanted to know. Nobody treated me different. Going into high school I was scared about not being able to make friends but I made so many new friends,” McMurray said.

“She didn’t let her disease stop her any which way. She showed up to soccer, she was great about everything,” coach Allaire said.

McMurray loved soccer and school so much, she is trying to pursue both at the next level. She’s looking Medaille College and Niagara University to stay close to home since her sister just had a baby boy.

If she goes to Medaille, she’ll play soccer there while majoring in adolescent education to eventually become a teacher.

“I have a few teachers that I love their classes and it helps make school more enjoyable for me and so if I can do that for other kids and help them enjoy school as much as I enjoy school I think that would be an awesome job,” McMurray says.

Chemistry is her favorite subject because it challenges her and like many things, she masters it with her performance in the classroom mirroring her play on the soccer field.

“I’m a very aggressive player, I give 110%. I’m not the best player on the team but I give all my effort out there on the field. I use my body so that nobody gets past me and I knock some people down but we all get back up,” McMurray said.

And that’s exactly what she did when her disease came, got back up and fought. Now she wants to spread her message and inspire others who might be going through tough times.

 “Whatever life throws at you if you handle it the right way and you keep a smile on your face and you keep going that you’ll make it out okay,” McMurray said.

Athletic Accomplishments:

Varsity Soccer – 3 years

Varsity Bowling – 3 years

Varsity Cheerleading – 3 years

Varsity Track – 2 years

All Catholic 1st Team – Senior Year

All Catholic 2nd Team – Junior Year

Academic Awards:

National Honor Society – 2019

President’s Education Award Program for Outstanding Academic Excellence – 2019

Sean Patrick Scott Legacy Scholarship – 2018 & 2019

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