Meredith Elise Legg Stapleton, 26, of Huntersville, took her place in Heaven Feb. 24, 2014 while surrounded by her family. Meredith was born in Raleigh, NC on March 4, 1987, the daughter of Basil and Robin Legg.
Meredith grew up in Bridgeport, WV, before moving to Huntersville in 2002. Beginning at a young age, Meredith was a star basketball player and athlete, first at Bridgeport High School and, later at Hopewell High School, in Huntersville. She was the first inductee into the Hopewell High School Athletic Hall of Fame. In her senior year, Meredith was also chosen as Miss Hopewell-2005.
Following high school, she accepted a basketball scholarship to play for the University of South Carolina-Aiken where she became a four-year starter from 2005-2009. At the end of her college career, Meredith held many records including all- time leader in scoring (1,480), career three-point field goals made (311), three-point field goal percentage (.407), and free throw percentage (.882).
She also owns the USC Aiken single-season record for consecutive free throws made (45), and best three-point field goal percentage (.475). In 2009, Meredith again made USC Aiken history, sinking the most three-pointers in one game (10).
In the Peach Belt Conference, Meredith holds records in free throw percentage, three-point field goal percentage and most consecutive free throws made. During her career, she was voted the PBC Player of the Week three times and was an all-PBC selection on two occasions. She was inducted in USC-Aiken Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
After graduating cum laude with a degree in business administration, Meredith began her professional career as a financial analyst for URS Corp., in Aiken. In January 2013, she became the project analyst at HNTB Corp. of Charlotte, where she was responsible for all accounting practices related to the Charlotte Blue Line extension project. Meredith was greatly loved and respected by all of her managers and coworkers at both URS and HNTB.
While Meredith’s athletic, academic and professional accomplishments were tremendous, her life was about so much more. On April 13, 2009, at age 22, Meredith was diagnosed with ocular melanoma, a rare form of cancer that affects around 2,000 Americans per year. Faced with this life-changing and devastating diagnosis, Meredith chose to become an ambassador in the fight against her disease and to share her love for God with everyone around her.
She established the Meredith Legg Cancer Fund to support research for a cure and traveled to Canada to participate in a melanoma awareness documentary called “Dear 16-year old Me.” She became an inspirational and motivational speaker reaching out to hundreds of young people, sharing her faith and raising melanoma awareness.
In spite of her disease and the debilitating treatments, Meredith continued to live her life to the fullest. In 2010, she became the head girls’ basketball coach at Mead Hall Episcopal School in Aiken, leading the team to its first winning season, followed by two consecutive championship seasons. She also was the founder, president and head coach of the Aiken Elite AAU girls’ basketball program, providing athletic opportunities to young girls in the Greater Aiken community.
In October 2012, Meredith experienced the happiest day of her life when she married her high school sweetheart, Christopher Stapleton, at the St. John’s United Methodist Church where she was a member and active in the Friends in Faith Women’s Bible study. She was also a member of the Oasis Evening Bible Study at Lake Forest Church in Huntersville.
Meredith loved deep, laughed often, and fought hard. She lifted the hearts of everyone with her ever welcoming and radiant smile and steadfast courage. Her inspiration will forever live on through the thousands of lives she touched.
Meredith was a joy to her family, whom she cherished. Along with her husband Christopher, Meredith is survived by her parents, Basil and Robin Legg of Lorton, VA; her sister and brother-in-law, Lyndsi and Rick Herring of Huntersville; her brother, Basil Ray (Trey) Legg, III of Lorton, VA; and her nephew and nieces Richard Charles (Chase), Jr., Ella Grace and Julia Elise Herring whom Meredith loved with all of her heart.
Meredith was a lifelong sports fan, forever loyal to the UNC Tar Heel basketball and WVU Mountaineer football programs. She was also a dedicated fan of the Carolina Panthers and the Charlotte Bobcats. She loved nothing more than attending games at the Dean E. Smith Center and Mountaineer Field with her family and friends.
Donations in Meredith’s memory can be sent to the Meredith Legg Cancer Fund, First Community Bank, 407 Silver Bluff Road SW, Aiken, SC, 29803.
Feb. 24, 2014, GoHeels.com, “Lucas: She Lives For This” – Writer Adam Lucas reports on Meredith Stapleton’s love of the Tarheels, her battle with melanoma and her final weeks – including a seat at North Carolina’s amazing victory over Duke last week.
YouTube.com, “Dear 16-Year-Old Me,” a public service