VIDEO: EdWatch: Padua senior with a tough life wins bravery award

A Padua senior is named an unsung hero by the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association.

WDEL's Amy Cherry has more in this week's WDEL Delaware EducationWatch.

Erin Wendelburg has lost both of her parents and last year was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, which she calls Lola.

"I figured since we were spending the rest of eternity together, we should be on a first name basis, so ya know, that's just what I call her," said Wendelburg.

Lola hasn't stopped her from dancing, a lifelong passion of hers. She made a triumphant return to Padua's dance team this year after lengthy chemotherapy treatments.

Her passion and bravery combined are why she's won the Buddy Hurlock Unsung Hero Award from the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association (DSBA). Hurlock died in 2012 after fighting a brain tumor for two years.

"For me, I don't think that I am stronger than anybody else just because I've had things to be strong for," she said.

But no matter how brave, Erin still misses her mom--who died of Hodgkin's

"She was also going through cancer treatments when she was a teenager so that's hard just to try to imagine things that she would say to me," Wendelburg said.

Erin says her mother's death gives her determination to fight back against Lola. She knows her mom would be proud of the award. Erin was shocked to win it and even more surprised when the Make a Wish Foundation granted her wish -- by giving her a trip to South Africa.

"We got to ride elephants and pet lions and climbed a mountain in Cape Town, and it was just the most amazing trip I've ever been on," she said.

Erin is finishing up her last round of chemo this week and said it "feels amazing." She hopes to travel more and plans to study fashion merchandising at Philadelphia University after graduation.

Copyright © Dec 17, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
Advanced permission from Delmarva Broadcasting Company required for publication or rebroadcast.