MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Athletes are thought to be some of the healthiest people around. But even those who are in the best shape can still get a devastating diagnosis.
That’s why this week’s Kylie Kid Abbey, a competitive high school swimmer, couldn’t believe it when she found out she had cancer.
For Abbey, there’s no better place than in the pool.
“She loves to be in the water,” Jennifer Cornelius, Abbey’s mom, said. “She has since she was just a baby.”
“I like that it’s like an individual sport yet a team sport,” Abbey said.
At 15-years-old, she’s a fierce competitor.
“I made it to state this year,” Abbey said.
State was in November; by December Abbey noticed something was different.
“I had swollen lymph nodes in my neck and they were cutting into my neck,” she said.
Even though her she was on top of her game, her swim coach encouraged her to get it checked out.
“There was no blood work that came up looking different. There had been ultrasounds, [but] everything came up negative,” Jennifer said.
Finally, in February doctors at Children’s Minnesota did a biopsy. It was the last thing they expected.
Abbey had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“I had just swam the mile the weekend before,” Abbey said. “That’s what kind of didn’t make the whole cancer thing real, because how can someone do that with this terrible disease in them?”
She said it didn’t feel real until the effects of chemo set in.
“I guess, I’d say, when I shaved my hair and having to go to school the next morning,” Abbey said.
Even though Abbey couldn’t get back in the pool, her fellow swimmers wasted no time forming a new team: Team Abbey.
“It’s been really amazing,” Abbey said. “You get really close with them because we practice two hours a day, every day. So, it was just like really sweet.”
“I don’t mean to sound hokey but you can feel the love,” Jennifer said. “They wrapped us in love.”
Now, her teammates are cheering her on until she’s back in pool, cancer free and stronger than ever.
“Makes me wonder how fast I’ll be when I get back in the pool,” Abbey said.