SEMO Soccer’s Donate Life Game remembers Meg Herndon, raises awareness of organ and tissue donation

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – When the SEMO women’s soccer team took the field for their game Sunday versus SIUE, they did so with just 10 players. 

The missing left back position was once occupied by Meg Herndon, who passed away 11 days after being hit by a truck while crossing an intersection on her scooter in 2012. 

The left back position is now that of Mariah Mannino. 

But that’s not where the similarities stop. Mannino is a nursing student, like Herndon was. 

Mannino also uses Herndon’s motto “Impossible is nothing” to help her shake adversity. 

“Her end goal was to become a nurse, so I’m so excited that I get to carry on the tradition, and I use the slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’ every day to go through nursing school, to get me through practice and everything else,” Mannino said. “It’s really exciting to carry on her legacy here.” 

Mannino also received the Meg Herndon Memorial Scholarship, which is given to a student-athlete who exemplifies the characteristics that allowed Meg to live her life to the fullest. 

Meg’s mother Cindi Silvey said the scholarship program is another avenue for her and SEMO to carry on Meg’s legacy. 

“The scholarship program has given me another way to help another student because Meghan’s ultimate goal was to play soccer and do nursing, which is a very hard task for anybody, but with scholarships and all the extra money that they get, they don’t have to worry about paying for all this,” she said. “That’s what inspired us to help another student.”  

Silvey said her family has adopted a new motto. 

“You never know what tomorrow’s going to do,” she said. “Hug your loved ones, say I love you. That’s our biggest family motto now is we never walk away saying I don’t love you.” 

The result on the field on a day like Sunday is secondary, but head coach Heather Nelson, who coached Herndon from 2009 to 2012, said the Redhawks’ 2-0 loss can help them reflect Herndon’s “process-oriented” approach to life. 

“She was so driven to make sure that she left it all out there in every way that she could,” she said. “For us, days like today when we come away with a loss, we can go and reset and make sure we’re process-oriented and that we’re resilient in the same way that she was.” 

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