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Athlete shares her journey at Conant, Monadnock Hoops for Hope games  Saturday

  • Former Monadnock star athlete Kate Skrocki. Courtesy photo

  • Former Monadnock star athlete Kate Skrocki was told she’d never run again after her cancer diagnosis. Courtesy photo

  • Former Monadnock star athlete Kate Skrocki. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/5/2020 2:50:07 PM

The year was 2012, and everything was going right for Kate Skrocki. As an eighth-grader, Skrocki had already been called up to the Monadnock JV soccer team, and with her freshman year coming up in the fall, she had high hopes for the next four years of varsity soccer, track and basketball.

That’s when she felt the pain in her right leg.

Initially diagnosed with a fractured femur, Skrocki sought a second opinion, and a third. Her blood circulated the country, then the globe, as doctors in labs around the world tested it to see just what was afflicting her. Finally, the results came in – she had a tumor in her right femur, and doctors said she might never run again.

“My goal was to play sports throughout high school,” Skrocki said. “As a young athlete, you always hope that you could go to college or go pro or something. It really felt like my entire life just stopped in its tracks,” Skrocki said.

Skrocki had chondrosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that attacks the bones and the soft tissue in and around them. On July 6, 2012, she went under the knife, as doctors removed the tumor and replaced some of her bone marrow with a cadaver graft.

It hardly slowed her down. Her recovery time was supposed to be at least a year, but thanks to hard work in physical therapy, she accelerated that timeline dramatically.

“I was never really good at listening to the doctors... once I could, I started pushing it,” Skrocki said.

Just a few months later, she’d step foot on the Monadnock soccer field. It was symbolic gesture at the end of the season, but nonetheless she did it; from there, she was able to make her way back to all three of her beloved sports, where she was named captain of the soccer team and won a state track and field team championship.

Her story sends a powerful message – a cancer diagnosis isn’t the end of the world – and that’s the message she’ll deliver as the guest speaker at Saturday’s Hoops for Hope basketball games at Monadnock.

“I’m trying to reach out to the athlete in everyone,” Skrocki said, “and the athletes who are still in high school and still playing. Don’t take for granted the time you have there, because high school sports goes by so fast. Even if you’re faced with struggles, it’s not the end of the world, and you can totally work hard to overcome those kinds of things.”

The 11th annual fundraiser basketball games put on by Conant and the Hoops for Hope committee raise money for local families affected by cancer. The Orioles will play three games at Monadnock on Saturday. The event will start with a unified basketball game between Conant and Fall Mountain at 12:30 p.m., followed by a girls’ basketball game between the Conant Orioles and Monadnock Huskies at 2. It will conclude with a boys’ basketball game between the Orioles and the Huskies at 4.

The games promise to be good – if anyone can give the undefeated Conant girls a game, it’s the defending champion Huskies, and the Conant boys, themselves defending champs, battled Monadnock to double overtime earlier this season. But even the most casual of fans can gain something from Skrocki’s inspirational message of hope.


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