Family Tragedy Touches Hearts of Eagles

Oct. 10, 2006

The Eastern Washington University women's soccer team is honoring the memories of Lianne Nelson, age 5, and Finn Nelson, age 1, who were suddenly taken in a car accident on Sept. 12.

Lianne Nelson was a participant of Spokane's TOPSoccer program in which nine EWU women's soccer players and assistant coach Tamara Hageage worked as volunteer coaches and soccer buddies. TOPSoccer is a program for disabled children ages 4-18.

Since hearing about the tragedy, all of the players, coaches and athletic trainers have been wearing black wrist bands to honor Lianne, Finn and the Nelson Family at all of their games. They will continue to do so for the rest of the 2006 season.

"Lianne's sweet smile instantly won all of us over," said Hageage, whose husband George is EWU's head coach. "We have all been blessed to have known her and we will all remember and miss her."

"We extend our best wishes to Conner, age 3, who fights to recover from his broken neck, and to Mr. and Mrs. Nelson. You are all in our prayers."


The players who knew Lianne share their fond memories:

"She always had a smile on her face." -- Cat Baller, soccer buddy.

"She was extremely excited to be a part of the TOPSoccer program and always proud to show her mom what she had learned. She was a really fast learner who loved to score goals!"-- Jocelyn Bement, Lianne's soccer buddy.

"Watching her participate in the parachute activity was my favorite part of the session!" -- Lilly Bourret, soccer buddy.

"She was spunky and a joy to work with." -- Kai Gregersen, soccer buddy.

"Her smile made me smile." -- Kelsey Tufnail, Lianne's soccer coach.

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