Chloe spends nearly every day of the week playing volleyball. As a dedicated member of her school and club teams, you may never know she started playing just last year.
But no challenge is too big for Chloe – not even cancer.
“Chloe was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma in January 2016,” said her mother, Katia. “She started chemotherapy right away and had several stays in the hospital for a high fever, including two stays in the ICU.”
“She was weak and nauseous, and it was difficult for her to make plans because any day or any night, she could get a fever and would have to go back to the hospital.”
After enduring one surgery and months of chemotherapy treatments, Chloe slowly began to regain her strength. It was during this time that she found her love of volleyball.
“I was excited to try something new and I like that there’s a lot of action involved, where you have to move and think quickly,” said Chloe, who joined her school’s team and started playing on a club team in spring 2017.
“My favorite thing is diving for the ball, I love it. And it’s fun when I get the ball high over the net. I like the challenge,” she continued.
Toward the end of her treatment, Chloe’s doctor referred her for a wish and she couldn’t wait to meet with her volunteer wish granters.
“I had a lot of ideas for my wish, but I knew I wanted something that had to do with volleyball,” said Chloe. “I especially wanted to meet Jordan Larson, outside hitter and team captain for the U.S. Women’s Olympic Volleyball Team.”
Chloe wasn’t sure if her wish would be possible, but one night, she unsuspectedly showed up for dinner with her friends and was shocked to find out her wish was set in motion.
“I couldn’t believe it!” said Chloe. “My volunteers surprised me with our plane tickets and said I was going to meet the team at the Volleyball Nations League Championship.”
Chloe flew with her mom and dad to Omaha, Nebraska, where the competition was held, and stayed in the same hotel as the U.S. team, plus teams from Poland, Italy and Turkey.
“We would see the players in the lobby, that was so cool,” said Chloe. “It was amazing and unreal to actually be there.”
The first day, Chloe met the U.S. Women’s Team at one of their practice sessions, where she sat courtside to watch them play and was able to learn from their approach.
“They were really nice, and REALLY tall!” said Chloe. “I peppered with Head Coach Karch Kiraly, which is basically hitting the ball back and forth, then the team asked me if I wanted to serve the ball.”
“I was so nervous and I messed up the first time. They asked me if I wanted to move up the line but I said no way! I tried again and then I served the ball over the net with no problem!”
Chloe also joined in on the team huddle and enjoyed talking with her favorite player, Jordan Larson. “She told me to keep going to school and keep practicing, then I got phone numbers from three of the players, so I can ask them questions whenever I want!” said Chloe. “I still text some of the players to see what tournaments they are in and how they are doing.”
“It was like a dream,” said Katia. “Chloe was so natural with the players as if it were nothing and I could tell she was so happy. She could have wished for anything, but this is something that was so beneficial for her and her future and I don’t think she could have had a better wish.”
The rest of her wish trip, Chloe spent time touring the University of Nebraska-Lincoln stadium and gyms. Her family also received tickets to watch the teams face-off on the court, where the U.S. Women’s Team honored Chloe with a very special tribute.
“During practice, I gave the team members bracelets that I made, and they wore them during their game against Poland and won!” said Chloe.
Since starting school again this semester, Chloe is in remission for her cancer and she spends most of her time playing volleyball on her club and school teams.
“I have practice Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays plus games on the weekends and right now I’m playing back row, more defense,” said Chloe, who brought back plenty of advice from the U.S. team to share with her fellow teammates.
“My wish made me a better volleyball player,” said Chloe. “Seeing their level of intensity and watching them play made me want to work hard so I get on my high school team next year and hopefully get a scholarship for college.”
“Chloe’s wish has done so many amazing things for her and it was great from the beginning to end,” said Katia. “This gave her high motivation to go as far as possible in any direction she chooses.”