A Joyous Day

Published 6:00 pm Friday, April 29, 2011

For about the past year the Brookhaven community rallied behindMaggie Cupit as she fought for her life in a 12-round bout againstcancer. Cupit knocked the disease out after months of slipping thejabs of illness, and it was only fitting that the community wouldbe in her corner as she returned home victorious.

Groups of relatives and friends crowded various locations alongBrookway Boulevard Thursday to wave to Cupit as she followed apolice escort on her way home after living in Memphis, Tenn., toreceive treatment for Ewing’s Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

“When you’re gone for a year you think people forget about you,”said Becky Green, a family friend. “No one’s forgotten.”

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The community has been with Cupit and her family through everyround. Schools held fundraisers in her honor throughout the year,many people followed Cupit’s journey through her online journal,and the Boulevard was littered with T-shirts from previous eventsbearing Cupit’s name during the parade.

“It’s just wonderful how the community has been behind ourfamily the whole year,” said Cupit’s grandmother, Anne Henderson.”It just makes you appreciate Brookhaven; it’s a special communityof people. I can’t imagine this happening in too many otherplaces.”

Like true fans, the community cheered for Cupit while she was intown making headlines for academic success and even after she leftto take care of herself.

The celebration will continue for Cupit’s homecoming Sunday.

A welcome home party will be held from 1 until 2:30 p.m. Sundayat the First United Methodist Church Ministry Center. Everyone isinvited to attend.

While fighting for her life, Cupit said having all the supportfrom her family and hometown helped push her to punch back againsther disease not just for her, but for all those rooting for her aswell.

“When you know people love you, it makes you want to fightharder for them,” she said.

The 4.5-hour car trip from Memphis to Brookhaven may have beenone of the longest in Cupit, her mom (Ellie Phillips) and hersister’s (Flynn Phillips) lives.

Cupit said her stomach was in pain from antibiotics she istaking to help ward of infection from a recent surgery.

“Once I saw the parade it made me feel a whole lot better and Igot caught in the moment and it made me feel better,” she said.

Ellie Phillips’ stomach may have also been in knots as she saiddriving behind the police escort and the parade made her a littlenervous. However, she also mentioned being overwhelmed by theparade turnout.

“Very emotional,” she said. “I could hardly make myselfdrive.”

On their way back home, the family was able to reflect onfriends and memories they shared and lessons learned throughouttheir journey.

“You get where you appreciate every little pretty thing you seeand every good day you have,” said Phillips. “You appreciate everyday.”