The TCU community lost one of its most important members Thursday evening, as young fan and super hero Micah Ahern passed away Thursday after a long battle with Neuroblastoma, a deadly form of cancer that attacks small children. He was diagnosed before his second birthday, and fought bravely and fiercely in the years to come. The Ahern family made the difficult decision to enter Micah into hospice care this summer so that he could enjoy his remaining days with his family.
Micah and his family endeared himself not only to TCU fans, but thousands of people across the country who heard his story and connected with the young man. His passion for TCU was rivaled only by his strength and grace through tribulation, as he inspired all of those who encountered him either in person or hearing his story through various channels. His trip to Omaha earlier this summer captivated people in DFW and beyond, as the breadth of his impact became apparent.
A huge part of the TCU Baseball team, Micah "signed" with the team in 2014, after beginning a relationship with the program in 2013. He was given a locker in the new player's clubhouse, and was with the team as often as his health permitted. Players began wearing his "Super M" symbol last season, and it became a permanent part of their uniform at this year's College World Series.
TCU catcher Evan Skoug and pitcher Mitchell Traver were two of the players especially close with their seven year old teammate, regularly speaking about the impact he had on them and the inspiration he gave.
"If we've had a tough day or drop a series, it's, 'Hey, by the way, Micah's going to try proton radiation this week,'" Traver said. "His mantra is, 'Never, ever give up.' How he's displayed that and what he's walked through, it's made us better men. It's helped us play better baseball.
"He affects us in so many ways that go beyond baseball, that baseball becomes a small thing. It's a lot more simple."
Skoug began writing Micah's name on the tape on his wrist as well as in the dirt behind home plate prior to every contest, as a way to honor his friend. Micah was able to write his own name before the Frogs' second win of the CWS in Omaha earlier this summer.
"I felt led to do it," said Skoug, a sophomore from Libertyville, Illinois, who has grown close to Micah this year. "He's had a rough patch. I took it hard. I took it to heart. If he can see his name on national TV or know that we're thinking about him, maybe that can help him smile."
Many players sent out tweets reflecting their grief Thursday night, as did his many admirers throughout the TCU community and beyond. Coach Schlossnagle was elegant in his words as well:
We lost a teammate today...but Heaven gained, not just an Angel, but a Warrior! Micah will always be a part of us. pic.twitter.com/E1KYJWuADZ— Jim Schlossnagle (@TCUSchloss) July 29, 2016
TCU's first stop on their way home from Omaha was at the Ahern's Arlington residence, where they engaged Micah in an epic nerf gun battle and shared some special moments with their young friend.
Every visit with SuperHero Micah always includes a Nerf Gun War!! pic.twitter.com/rr6bNFluQX— Jim Schlossnagle (@TCUSchloss) June 26, 2016
#NEGU was trending on Twitter Thursday night, and it is powerful to scroll through the hundreds of tweets and see the impact young Micah had on so many people from all around the country. While we certainly mourn his loss, we celebrate his healing and pledge to never forget his mantra to Never, Ever, Give Up.
Micah's legacy will live on at TCU in a myriad of ways, but you can honor him directly by donating to the newly established Micah Ahern Baseball Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a TCU athlete who who "embraces the notion to Never Ever Give Up and who possesses the strength and courage that our Superhero, Micah, embodies every day". You can give to the scholarship fund thusly:
To Give Online
(1) Please go to: https://epay.tcu.edu/
(2) Reference “Micah Ahern TCU Baseball Scholarship” in the Comments box
To Give by Phone
(1) Please call the TCU Frog Club Offices at (817) 257-7700
To Give by Check
(1) Please make checks out to “Micah Ahern TCU Baseball Scholarship”
(2) Mail to:
TCU Frog Club
TCU Box 297140
Fort Worth, TX 76129
We love you Micah. Rest in peace.