Community, basketball team rally to help young cancer patient
A little girl battling cancer learned Friday night that a team - and an entire town - is fighting for her.
The community of Daleville rallied around second grader Katie Kline during a "yellow out" at the high school basketball game.
The scene in the Daleville gym was about more than school spirit, more than team pride. It was a sea of support for a young student in need.
"It's our whole community coming together to work for one cause and support one little girl who would love to be done with this," said Daleville senior Jensen Hochstetler.
Katie is facing her fifth battle against a rare form of nerve cancer. She was first diagnosed at age three. High schoolers heard about her fight and decided to do something big.
"In just two weeks all of this was put on, it's been amazing," said Daleville senior Betsy Weston. "It's been a blessing to our whole school to be able to come together."
Basketball players and coaches shaved their heads for donations. Students sold $2,000 in t-shirts - even more in ribbons, stickers and yard signs.
That money will go toward Katie's medical expenses and cancer treatments.
The community also created a "yellow out", wearing yellow shirts for Katie during Friday night's game against Muncie Burris.
"I started crying as soon as I walked out on the floor and saw all the yellow. It was amazing," said Daleville senior Tyler Reels.
Before the game, Katie herself got to see it too. Her mom wheeled her out to center court to thunderous applause.
"We were crying and everyone was standing up for her. She had a big smile on her face," Reels said.
Students and basketball players - even the opposing team - presented Katie with flowers, Christmas gifts and a poem.
"We are a team and cancer's the opponent and we'll fight to the very end to show it," it said in part. "And Katie we believe that you will win. We believe that you will win!"
The crowd picked up that chant, filling the Broncos' gymnasium with a roaring chorus of support. Katie's mom told students their powerful message hit its mark.
"What a great job you guys have done and it just shows that love and kindness can be popular. Thanks Daleville," she said.
Katie, head resting on her wheelchair, smiled from ear to ear.
Then she raised her arm and gave a thumbs up for a community that made it clear, they care.
She left the gym to that same chant: "We believe that you will win!"