ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) On June 28, 2018, the Rock Valley softball family was rocked by the news of the sudden passing of former All-American shortstop Summer Amman. Summer died by suicide after a battle with mental illness.
On Saturday, friends, family, current players and former teammates came together for a special ceremony to honor Summer.
"I miss her every day. I know we all do," said former teammate Olivia Fluehr. "And just the fact that, that's just the only way she thought was the best, but she's not in pain anymore. We're living her life now. We're making her proud being on the field and everything like that. We just miss her so much."
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. RVC head coach Darin Monroe made sure to let it be known it's okay to not be okay.
"Everybody deals with mental health in some ways," said Monroe. "Everybody is struggling with mental health issues internally. It's about raising awareness and making people understand that it's ok to talk about it. You're not soft if you have mental health issues because everybody is going through the same thing."
Summer's parents were presented with the #7 jerseys she wore during her two years at Rock Valley. Her double play running mate Jessica Turner said the two were nearly inseparable.
"Anything she did, I kind of followed right in her footsteps. Anything I did, she followed right in my footsteps. We just complimented each other really well and that's honestly what helped us get along so well."
While no one will ever truly know what Summer was going through, she will be missed by many.
"She was that girl with the bullring in her nose," said Fluehr. "Everyone was a little terrified of her. But her presence, right when you first met her, you're like, ok she's going to become a friend."
"I'm so grateful that I went to Rock Valley for two years and that Summer was able to touch my life," said Turner. "Her family was able to touch my life. I cannot fathom how important it is that everybody is here and how grateful and blessed I feel in this moment."
This year's Rock Valley softball team has taken on a special mantra and a special hashtag. #SixPlusOne.
"We talk about, we're chasing our sixth championship and Summer is our plus one," said Monroe. "It just so happens six plus one equals seven. So when we thought about our motto for the year, it just made sense."