CHARACTER COUNTS

Sandra Day O’Connor basketball player uses faith to fight disease, help others

Sep 9, 2019, 2:30 PM
Sandra Day O'Connor High School senior Oscar Voeller lines up a free throw. (Photo provided by Bria...
Sandra Day O'Connor High School senior Oscar Voeller lines up a free throw. (Photo provided by Brian Voeller)
(Photo provided by Brian Voeller)

PHOENIX — Sandra Day O’Connor High School senior Oscar Voeller has relied on his family and faith to help him prepare for his senior year.

A spark plug off the bench for the Eagles basketball team, Voeller’s season was put on hold after he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that caused him to lose 15 pounds in two days in June 2018.

“Luckily, though, I’ve had a great support system. Whether it’s been my family, my coaches, my doctors, my friends, well, it’s mainly my mom and my faith in God,” Voeller said. “She keeps the faith coming into our household. We’re always at church.”

That faith from his mother Tatum and father Brian not only helped Oscar get back on the court, but he was also able to return to his studies and spend time as a volunteer with the Vineyard Church food bank.

“I originally started going to earn community service hours for the National Honors Society, but even after it was up I just kept going until school ended,” Voeller said.

Voeller ranks No. 10 in his class of 606 seniors, which is even more impressive considering the news of a second diagnosis.

“It eventually led to a diagnosis of chronic migraines so that just caused reading problems, visual problems with focusing on words and stuff,” Voeller said.

Despite his challenges and continuous battle with the autoimmune disease, Voeller has his eyes set on a college education at Arizona State University or Grand Canyon University and a potential degree in Engineering.

For now, Voeller just wants to help his team as one of four seniors this season and stay on the court.

“My main disappointment was that it kept me out of basketball,” Voeller said.

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Sandra Day O’Connor basketball player uses faith to fight disease, help others