High Schooler Katie Collier's Courage & Determination a Benchmark for All Ages

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IMay 22, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 28: Breanna Stewart #30 of the East team and Katie Collier #3 of the West team battle for the ball during the 2012 McDonald's All American Game at United Center on March 28, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Every time Katie Collier takes the court for the University of Washington next year, she’ll serve as a role model for overcoming an almost unthinkable level of adversity.

On Sept. 24, 2011, Collier, the 24th-rated girls basketball recruit in the country, was on a visit to the University of Washington, trying to figure out if that’s where she wanted to go to college. But when something went horribly wrong, the high school senior’s life changed forever.

On the trip, Collier’s gums wouldn’t stop bleeding, so she called her mom, who was tailgating at a Washington football game. They went to a nearby hospital, and once Katie was transferred to the UW Medical Center, the Collier family received news that was worse than ever imagined.

Katie had acute myeloid leukemia.

After plenty of tears and research about the disease, Collier decided she wouldn’t let her upcoming battle get her down.

Not only did she manage to continue playing basketball while undergoing chemotherapy (she returned to the court in December, less than three months after she was diagnosed), she was the unquestioned leader of her team. En route to leading her high school, Seattle Christian, to the state playoffs, Collier broke the school’s scoring record and was named to the McDonald’s All-American team.

Her school’s mascot is the Warrior. I’d say that fits her pretty well.

The McDonald’s All-American Game not only marked a basketball milestone for the impressive Collier, but it came at an important time in her life.

The game happened just a few weeks after her last chemo treatment, signaling what was the end of her six-month battle with cancer. For Katie, she played as if it was a championship game and she merely had the common cold.

Not only did the 6’3” Collier notch a record-tying five blocks in just 19 minutes, she tied the game on two huge free throws with just 16.4 seconds left. She also had five rebounds.

Collier has decided to play at the University of Washington next year, and if nothing else, the Huskies know they are getting a girl unwilling to give up, no matter the situation.

The 18-year-old should be an example we all try to model our lives after.


Presented by MetLife. I Can Do This.