- A young cancer warrior was able to cross the finish line at a high school track meet with the help of a few of her friends.
- Yeva Klingbeil, 18, was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and her high school track career was cut suddenly short.
- Undergoing months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments left Yeva too weak to compete.
Eighteen-year-old Yeva Klingbeil’s high school track career was halted when she was diagnosed with cancer in her junior year.
The senior student at Shenendehowa High School was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma — the most common type of soft-tissue cancer in children — in November 2019.
Yeva’s track coach, Rob Cloutier, asked her if she would like to join in a school tradition in which seniors run the 4×100 relay at the last home track meet of the season.
She agreed and returned to run with her cross country teammates who helped her finish the race.
“What a great moment to see Senior Yeva Klingbeil at today’s girls track & field meet,” the school’s athletic department wrote, posting the video on Twitter.
What a great moment to see Senior Yeva Klingbeil at today’s girls track & field meet. Yeva’s teammates help her across the line in the 4X1 relay. Yeva continues her fight with cancer and we continue to be amazed by her spirit!! @CoachCloutier @ShenNews @Agostinoni_Ron pic.twitter.com/pMs35dYLgY— ShenAthletics (@ShenAthletics) May 25, 2021
“Yeva’s teammates help her across the line in the 4X1 relay,” the post continued. “Yeva continues her fight with cancer and we continue to be amazed by her spirit!!”
The touching video shows Yeva walking arm-in-arm with three of her teammates as they helped her cross the finish line. Her other teammates and runners from rival schools rushed to congratulate her after, cheering her on.
In a Pledge It fundraising page for Yeva, the campaign said she began chemotherapy in 2019 for a cancerous mass around her jaw. It was followed by radiation treatments, “leading to damage to her brain stem which resulted in significant weakness, inability to swallow, and respiratory failure.”
She’s regained some of her function after spending time in ICU for weeks. The tumor has shrunk to half of its original size.
“Yeva and her family pray her brain will continue healing and she’ll be able to breathe, walk, and eat once again,” her coach Rob Cloutier wrote on Pledge It. “While Yeva has gone through all of this and more, she has never stopped caring about her friends and family and has never given up hope of recovery.”
Last fall, Cloutier organized a marathon to help raise funds for Yeva’s family and the cost of her medical expenses. They were able to raise $21,474, from the event, which they also shared with Family Reach — an organization that assists families of cancer patients.