There are some folks among us who inspire us to be better people, to work harder and to keep our heads high even when times get tough. In Hamilton, one high school girl has done just that -- and not just for one person but for her entire softball team.
NBC Montana went to Hamilton Wednesday to learn more about Mackenzie Rostad.
Mackenzie is only 18 years old and she has gone through seven brain surgeries for a tumor doctors found when she was just a baby. Despite her struggles Mackenzie manages to inspire others.
Mackenzie's teammate McKayla Rothie tells me Mackenzie has made a big impact in her life.
“I want to do better because I know she would do anything to be in my spot,” said Rothie. “She came to our last game and seeing her makes us want to be like ‘OK, let’s go’ and it motivates me to want to play.”
“Whenever times get tough and something’s going on I just say ‘Hey think about Mackenzie because she'd trade places with any one of you,’ and they say ‘Oh yeah, life's not that bad,’” said Mackenzie’s softball coach Jason Goligoski.
Goligoski invited Mackenzie to join the softball team to help the girls appreciate their opportunities and to never take anything for granted.
“(I told them) ’Mackenzie’s graduating and she never had the opportunity to go play and do what you’re doing and I guarantee she would trade any one of you place’s and they all felt it and started tearing up and stuff like that and it kind of gave them a new perspective,” said Goligoski.
Mackenzie's mother tells NBC Montana she's thankful the team for welcoming her daughter.
“It makes me proud that Kenzie can be such an inspiration and people do -- I mean we still do it -- take things for granted that we shouldn't.” said Lanell Rostad. “Her entire high school and community have just done so much to include her in things that she would never get to participate in because of her disabilities.”
“She's kind of our motivator and who we want to win everything for, it's always 'Hey let's go get this game for Kenz and let's bring back the victory for Kenz,” said Rothie. “She'll definitely be in our hearts next week at state and we'll try and bring it home for her.”
“To win state…win state,” said Mackenzie to her teammates.
The girls are heading to state next week in Belgrade. Mackenzie won't be able to make the trip, but her teammates tell us she she'll be there in her own way, motivating them to win.