Jaedyn H.

Jaedyn H.

Jaedyn started playing tennis at the age of 5 at the local community courts. She immediately showed interest, and her coach kept moving her up in age groups. By the time she was 8, she was practicing about 8 hours a week at the University of Pacific. She began participating in USTA tournaments and developed a love for competition.

At age 9, Jaedyn was invited to an international tournament in Denver, Colorado, at the Air Force Academy. She met other players her age and enjoyed a wonderful week of tennis. By 10, she ranked among the top ten 10-year-old players in NorCal, which allowed her to represent NorCal in the 10 Zonals tournament in Las Vegas.

When Jaedyn turned 11, her tennis performance began to decline. Initially, we thought it might be burnout or nerves, but then she started to frequently fall ill with the flu, infections, and more.

On January 13, 2016, a visit to the local ER changed our lives. Jaedyn was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). We were immediately transferred to Oakland Children’s Hospital, where Jaedyn began her 2.5-year treatment journey. She completed her last treatment on April 25, 2018, at the age of 13. Unfortunately, she lost the years from 11 to 13 to leukemia.

Despite her best efforts to maintain friendships, attend school, and play tennis, it was a tremendous struggle. Jaedyn faced many challenges throughout her treatment: a severe blood infection that required over a week in the ICU, a 26-day stay due to a severe neck infection, a PICC line insertion due to an infection in her port, and pneumonia that resulted in another 8-day hospital stay. She was homeschooled for about a year and a half in total and attended tennis practice only three times in 2.5 years. Friendships faded, and she completed her treatment just before graduating from 8th grade, having been diagnosed in 6th grade.

During this time, Jaedyn grew into a beautiful, strong young woman. She has been back in tennis for a year now and plays every day. Now a freshman in high school, she chose to be homeschooled so she can play tennis four hours a day to "catch up." Her goal is to obtain a full-ride athletic tennis scholarship to Stanford, a dream she has had since age 5. Jaedyn is taking honors courses and has a 4.2 GPA this year. She is truly an amazing young woman!

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