HUMBLE, Texas-- As Arianna West enters the state track meet on Saturday, she'll have a familiar sound in her head.
"My mom was my number one supporter," West said. "I swear I could hear her out of everyone else in the crowd. I still hear that voice, so it's very uplifting."
West's mom, Latasha, died last summer following a battle with lupus. The Mayo Clinic describes lupus as "a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body's immune system attacks your own tissues and organs."
This whole year, while playing on the volleyball team, participating in poetry club or running track, the Humble High School junior has kept her mother in mind. On the track she wears a black headband with a purple ribbon to raise awareness for lupus.
"I can remember why I'm running and what I'm striving for. This week I got purple and a purple ribbon on my nails because it's actually Lupus Awareness Month."
Arianna is running in the 100 and 200 meter sprints at the state tournament, and she'll do so guided by her mom's memory.
"She would say to me '"why stop doing something you love to do."' That basically drove me to being where I am today, going to state. This is her month. I'm going to run for her."
Arianna also credits Charles West, her father and the football coach at Humble High School, for supporting her in all she does.