Weakened By Cancer, Teammates Help Shen Runner Cross Finish Line
In a beautiful moment captured on video, three runners on the Shenendehowa girls track and field team locked arms with a fellow student batting cancer, helping her cross the finish line at a meet on Monday afternoon. The clip has gone viral and for good reason; it's a touching moment that gave chills to the hundreds of thousands of people who have watched it.
Yeva Klingbeil, a senior at Shen, was diagnosed with jaw cancer a year-and-a-half ago. Saddled with treatments, she's had a difficult time swallowing and breathing on her own, let alone competing in track and field events at Shen, which was something she did until she was given her cancer diagnosis.
But her teammates vowed to be by her side through all the pain, and they did just that on Monday afternoon.
It was the final home meet of the season for the Shen girls team, and coach Rob Cloutier wanted to make it special for his seniors, especially for Klingbeil. "We always allow our senior distance runners to compete in a 4 x 100 relay, and we had Yeva run the last leg of that," he explained.
In the video clip you see three students lock arms with a weakened Klingbeil to help her cross the finish line, quite the accomplishment considering what this remarkable young woman had already endured well before she stepped foot on the track. "We weren't sure if Yeva was going to be well enough to be out there," Cloutier said. He was referring to the treatments she had earlier in the day. She was tired and obviously exhausted, but she powered though with the help of her teammates.
Once she made it, she was immediately mobbed by the other athletes and spectators as they chanted her name. It was yet another showing of solidarity, kindness and support that we've grown accustomed to here in the Capital Region. I get chills every time I watch it.
What Yeva may have lacked in physical strength on Monday, she more than makes up for in heart and determination with a little help, of course, from her Shen community.