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Showcase, Sports, Student Life

Tuma ‘spikes’ cancer

Tuesday, April 7 was just another day for most, but for senior Abby Tuma, it was the end of almost a year of cancer treatments. After being diagnosed with medulloblastoma in January of 2019, Tuma has been fighting cancer and staying strong in order to get back to what she loves most: volleyball.

“I feel like the reason that I got through my treatment was because I kept pushing to be back on the volleyball court,” Tuma expressed. “I think that’s one of the main things that helped me, I guess.”

Tuma at the ‘Spike out Cancer’ game in 2019. Photo courtesy of Kendra Kristof.

Tuma transferred from Seymour High School to Shawano Community High School her sophomore year. She plays volleyball for the varsity team and has been an inspiration to her teammates.

“Watching Abby’s strength on and off the court is inspiring,” stated senior Rachel Reed. “She never gives up and fights so hard! Her goal all through her treatments was to get back out there with her team, and she did that! It has inspired me to never give up and to always try my best.”

Tuma played her first game in two years earlier this fall, and she has been fighting to get back into playing shape for several months. After her treatments ended, Tuma took some much needed time off and then began the process of getting back onto the court.

“After treatments, I had an extra three weeks off to kind of get my immune system back up again so I could start physical therapy,” Tuma explained. “I started physical therapy at the end of June. I was doing that twice a week until volleyball started in September.”

Getting back on the court has been a tough process for Tuma to go through. Luckily, she has a strong support system to help motivate and push her to be great.

“It is so relieving to know that they believed in me to get through it and come back on the court,” Tuma stated. “They also pushed me to do my best and get better.”

Athletics at SCHS focus on the importance of teamwork more than anything else. Your team is your family, and the volleyball team has shown that through their endless support of Tuma.

“Playing with Abby again gave me motivation to be a better person myself,” stated senior Freya Dickson. “She inspires everyone on the team and shines a light on younger players who look up to her. Her personality and way of being [haven’t] changed one bit, and I love her for that.” 

Volleyball is a demanding sport, both physically and mentally. Tuma’s recovery has been inspiring to see, but it is not without hardships.

“Physically, my feet were definitely not in shape,” Tuma explained. “One of the chemo treatments actually made my feet drop like a ballerina. Also, I sat in a hospital bed for almost a year of my life so getting stamina back is still a struggle.”

Regardless of her struggles, Tuma always keeps her mindset positive. She has played several games already and hopes to play the rest of the season, possibly even club volleyball in the winter. 

“Playing again was kind of exciting but at the same time nerve wracking because I haven’t been on the court in almost two years,” stated Tuma. “I didn’t want to let anybody down, but I also wanted to be out there for myself.”

One of Tuma’s senior pictures in her uniform. Photo courtesy of Emily Holtz, August Pines Photography.

On behalf of the Hawks Post and all of SCHS, I just wanted to say how proud we are of how far Abby has come. Her strength and heart are nothing short of incredible, and we can’t wait to see where the future takes her.