Kallie, 16 (brain tumour)
I wish to give my basketball team new equipment
Kallie is quick on her toes. The athlete is passionate about basketball, but also excels at volleyball, badminton, skiing, hiking, and rock climbing. The 16-year-old’s favourite ice cream flavour is cookie dough, and she prefers sushi to fast-food fare.
Kallie was diagnosed with cancer at the age of seven. Her mom Patricia said there were no signs of symptoms that led to the diagnosis. While driving her daughter home one day, she noticed Kallie’s eyes began rolling in the back of her head and she was incoherent and unable to speak. Kallie was rushed to a nearby hospital and that began their journey of scans, appointments, specialists, long hospital stays and surgeries.
Patricia said the biggest challenge for her daughter was understanding her diagnosis. Kallie also had to deal with emotions and anxiety following negative reactions from peers when she returned from surgery and looked different than before. At that time, Patricia said the family didn’t know what the future held, and the lack of certainty and security had been a challenge.
The thought of getting back on the court, and support from her basketball team, got Kallie through the difficult times and surgeries. The strength of her teammates inspired Kallie to pay it forward by wishing for customized sportswear for her entire team and coaches. The pandemic resulted in a lack of team funding, so the new gear was needed.
In late May, Kallie presented her team with new hoodies, sweatpants, wind breakers, basketballs, water bottles and backpacks. In a gesture of gratitude, and to recognize Kallie’s selflessness, her team organized a presentation for her that included cake, pizza, customized basketball shoes and a basketball signed by the entire team.
“Kallie has become an incredibly resilient and tough girl who is able to stay positive and attack challenges head on,” Patricia said. “She is doing very well and does not let her medical issues prevent her from doing a single thing.”