On November 10th, less than two weeks into the NBA’s 2012-2013 season, Rockets coach Kevin McHale took leave of his team due to a personal family matter. Several weeks later we found out that her daughter, Alexandra ”Sasha” McHale, died on Saturday, November 25th. She was only 23 years old.
She was a hard-working and optimistic person, a leader which played hard, just like her father. Her infectious laugh and positive attitude impressed everyone around her who knew that she was struggling with lupus, the disease which contributed to her death .
“She was positive even though she struggled so much,” said Veronica Scott, a teammate on the 2008 Eagles team that won the Class 3A state title. “Everyone that knew her was impacted by her, and she brought happiness to every person.”
Sasha became sick during a study abroad trip to Australia in 2011. Since then she missed classes from the liberal arts school at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, to stay home in North Oaks. Scott was the one who stood besides her and helped Sasha cut gluten or sugar in an effort to limit inflammation.
According to the Lupus Foundation of America this disease is a mystery and “one of the world’s cruelest, most unpredictable and devastating diseases.” The disease is auto-immune, which means that the immune system cannot make the difference between the healthy tissues and the foreign invaders, creating antibodies that attack everything causing pain, chronic inflammation and damage to the body (skin, kidneys, blood and joints).
Before she got sick Sasha was a hard player, winning honorable mention to the all-state team in 2008. She will be remembered not only as an exceptional player, but also as a cheerful and optimistic teammate.
“She was super aggressive and would try so hard,” Scott said. “If she wouldn’t foul out, it would be a good game.”