- Associated Press - Friday, March 3, 2017

PLEASANT VIEW, Utah (AP) - Before every basketball game, Weber High senior Kestin Cable listens to a song called “Little Do You Know” by Alex & Sierra.

It’s an emotional song, and Kestin has an emotional reason for listening to it.

It was the song played at her mom’s viewing.

Kestin listens to it to get the feeling that her mom and dad are there watching her. Both her parents died in 2015.

Her father, Jarrad Cable, died March 1, 2015, following complications from an operation to implant a pacemaker. Her mother, Michelle Cable, died May 16, 2015, after taking two medicines together that weren’t supposed to be mixed.

The next day, her grandfather died.

Each death was naturally traumatizing, but Kestin was the one who found her father dead on the couch. She also watched CPR be administered to her mother.

With a mentality befitting someone who plays for a school nicknamed the Warriors, Kestin has pushed through. She quickly made the decision that although she’ll never forget what happened, she has to try to make her parents proud.

“I have to survive this,” Kestin said. “It’s just something I have to do.”

Basketball has proven to be an important coping mechanism.

Kestin has played basketball since she was 6 and was coached by her mom when she was little. She said her parents attended every game.

Loving basketball was never hard, but Kestin admits she was never really into working out before losing her father. The day after he died, she worked out for “four hours straight.”

“It struck something inside me,” she said.

Nadean Skinner, Kestin’s grandmother and current guardian, said Kestin “forced herself to exercise every single day” and “threw herself into her basketball.”

“For Christmas she wanted a punching bag, so she’s got a punching bag downstairs that she uses,” Skinner said. “She’s got all kinds of exercise stuff at the school that she has access to.

“She never missed a basketball practice, she never missed a basketball game. She became more like the motivator to the other girls to get them there.”

Skinner said Kestin went so far as to call her high school basketball coach, Mark Hansen, and ask to start team practices earlier in the season than originally scheduled.

Hansen said the team normally takes July and August off, but he told her if she could get a certain number of girls to agree to start in July, he would make it happen.

She got the required support.

According to Hansen, “there’s no quit” in Kestin.

“She fights until the very last second on the clock regardless of the score,” he said.

This season, Kestin was rewarded for that persistent determination with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give her team a win at Fremont.

The team has become a source of support. One freshman in particular, Sarah Pollard, has stood out as one who always provides an emotional boost.

“Every single game, she’ll give me a speech of like ‘Your parents are so proud of you. You’re doing this for them,’” Kestin said. “That’s really helped me come to the understanding that they’ve always been there for me and they’ll never leave.”

Academically, Kestin has been just as determined to improve.

She said her GPA used to be in the 2.0s, but now she gets 3.5s and higher.

In addition to doing what she believes her parents would want her to do, Kestin has also tried to emulate their characteristics.

She remembers her mom telling her she wished everyone was blind because that way, everybody would accept each other the way they were.

Those words weren’t hollow.

One day, Kestin’s mom walked into the Union Grill in Ogden and heard a woman crying in a bathroom stall.

She asked the woman if she was OK, and the woman said she was getting a divorce and didn’t know where to go with her two small kids.

Kestin’s mom invited the woman and her kids to stay at her house until they could get back on their feet.

“When my mom said ‘Come live with us,’ I was not up for it,” Kestin admitted. “I was so nervous. I thought they were going to be those people who would kill us in our sleep . but as time went on, they ended up being (people) who I would respect and love forever.”

Kestin said her mom would make bags for homeless people that included food and water.

Her father, she said, was always positive and would do anything to make her smile.

Reflecting those characteristics, Kestin has become active in an anti-bullying group at school. She said the group, among other things, makes sure people aren’t sitting alone at lunch tables.

“I’ve decided to become more active with it because I know my parents would want me to do that, and I know it’s like their personalities and how they’d want me to treat everyone,” she said.

She’s also decided to be open about the trials she’s faced as a means of helping others.

“It will never get easier, but at the same time, I find comfort in it,” Kestin said. “Knowing that it can help other people just brings so much joy to me.”

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Information from: Standard-Examiner, https://www.standard.net

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