Nicole Dennion is a fighter. She came to Elon University to play soccer, a game that has defined much of her life. She has been strong, fiercely competitive and intimidating from the moment she stepped on the field for the first day of preseason. We knew we had someone special and we knew she was going to forever change our program by what she would accomplish in an Elon jersey. Our #22 never let us down. Her relentless spirit inspired us as her teammates to never give up and go after any challenge that stood in front of us wholeheartedly. The day she told our team she had cancer, she told us we better play with everything we have, every time we step out on that field because it could be the last.
We needed Colie on that field if we wanted to win. Now, she needs us and you more than ever. That's why we're asking you to join the Colie Challenge.
Colie represents everything you want to see in a young female athlete and she is fighting for her life everyday.
During February of her sophomore year at Elon, Colie noticed a small bump on the right side of her rib cage and was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma. Just 3 months before this, she ended her sophomore season as the 2013 Southern Conference Women's Soccer Player of the year, after leading the league in goals with 15 and helping us reach the finals of the SoCon Tournament. Colie is one of the best players to ever wear an Elon jersey and she was an unbelievable teammate. Colie was the ultimate competitor and the player you could always count on to work harder than anyone else on the field. She is feisty and strong as hell, which is exactly how she has been fighting this battle.
We know there isn’t much we can do to help her physically, but we want to lift her spirit and feel like this amazing soccer community is the best way to do that. We want to remind her of who she was before this tragedy and how this isn’t what defines her. We know the power of the human spirit and the strength of the soccer community, especially at the collegiate level. We’re hoping to bring those things together to help make a difference for Colie who represents everything you want to see in a young female athlete.
That’s where you come in.
We made our own video for Colie at her homecoming that she wasn't able to attend. And we're challenging SoccerGirlProbs and teams across the country to recognize our #22 and send a few words of encouragement or just something to show that she hasn’t been forgotten. We want her to know that we as a community of female athletes are all still behind her and believe in her fight.
We’re hoping this can start a series of videos on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and/or Snapchat from different teams across the country sharing some uplifting messages or the team doing 22 juggles or 22 sprints or 22 burpees etc. We're using the #StillKickingItWithColie to link them together and she can be tagged in them on Facebook (Colie Dennion) so that she can see all them pouring in and watch them anytime.
Here's her story:
After she was diagnosed, Colie initially had to withdraw from classes and moved back to New Jersey to receive treatment. She stayed on top of her school work by completing online classes and an internship to ensure she would still graduate with her class. She had surgery to remove the tumor and went through chemo treatments that year and then went into remission. It was a tough battle, but she beat it.
Colie came back to Elon to complete the spring 2015 semester as a full time student-athlete, even getting back on the field and in the weight room. But almost a year to the date, she had some routine scans to check on her progress and found out she had several small tumors in the same area. She started chemotherapy again, but was able to complete it at a local hospital near Elon which allowed her to continue taking classes and teammates were able to sit with her during treatments every day.
Colie graduated on time from Elon University in May of 2016 with a degree in Exercise Science. In her "spare" time, Colie also worked as a Physical Therapist's aide and coached a U12 girls club soccer team. She is an unbelievable force of a woman. As an athlete and fellow soccer player, we know you understand what is like to have a teammate who would run through a wall to get what she wanted done on the field - that is Colie. She never ceased to amaze us with her drive and athletic ability and throughout this whirlwind of a journey with her fight against cancer.
Since then, Colie has seen little progress in her battle with cancer. She tried stem-cell treatments and a clinical trial at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Unfortunately, none of these treatments lasted. The tumors have continued to spread to her chest and are causing a lot of complications and pain. She recently had surgery to implant a device that will help her to manage her pain better.
She needs all of us to remind her that we are still behind her. Please join the Colie Challenge and send your love to her on social media using the #StillKickingItWithColie.
Elon Women's Soccer Team