Heart of a champion

Alli Huss left a lasting legacy in the athletic arena at St. Edmond.

Now, she’s focused on building an even bigger one off of it.

Huss, a standout on the basketball and volleyball courts who was named the Carol Donnelly winner as the top female athlete at SEHS for 2014, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia earlier this year. She has been going through chemotherapy treatments in Iowa City at the University of Iowa Hospitals.

The news left Huss stunned and looking for answers. She was getting ready to prepare for the upcoming basketball season at Iowa Central and enter into an offseason weight-lifting program when she first noticed something was wrong.

“I was at work and had a sharp shoulder pain,” she said. “I thought that maybe it would be smart to get it checked out so that I wouldn’t injure myself.

“I was devastated and speechless. So many things ran through my mind. I began to quickly research what I was facing, and with the help of my parents, I was able to move forward with a better understanding and positive attitude.”

The treatments have helped fight back the cancer, leaving Huss with high hopes moving forward.

“My cancer has been reduced quite considerably,” she said. “I still need future treatments of chemotherapy. I am also in need of a stem cell transplant in the near future.”

The St. Edmond softball team held a special “Tribute” night at Rogers Park this past summer, and the Gael baseball and Dodger softball programs also participated. Well over $30,000 was raised, and SEHS coaches Paul Hunt, Scott Messerly and Dee Huss all shaved their heads in support of Alli.

“Words can’t describe how grateful I am for the Fort Dodge family,” Huss said. “It’s truly amazing the support from friends and the community, whether they wear green and white or black and red.”

Huss stated that each time she put on a Gael uniform, it was “a very proud moment for me.” She followed in a long line of family members who played for St. Edmond, stating “Jennifer Perkins and all my siblings and cousins (Danni, Nikki and Bryan Huss) were players I looked up to growing up.

“I did whatever I could to represent St. Edmond to the highest standard,” Huss said.

Huss completed her playing career as the school’s third all-time leading scorer. The Gaels won three consecutive North Central Conference titles with her in the lineup.

“The relationships and friendships that I developed with my teammates were the most memorable,” she said. “The bonds I made with some of those girls will last a lifetime. I couldn’t have asked for a better (high school career).”

Along with basketball and volleyball, Huss was also involved in youth ministry, Steubenville, Eucharistic Ministry and National Honor Society.

“I hope they remember me as being someone who enjoyed what I was doing on the court,” Huss said. “I was always in the gym and I loved playing with kids. I hope they saw the hard work and dedication it took (to succeed).

“I really hope that I can be a role model for the younger ones coming up in high school, and that they will love it as much as I do.”

Despite the setback, Huss isn’t letting go of her dream to play college basketball. She plans on redshirting this season with the Tritons and returning for the 2015-16 year.

“I like to live my life through the idea that, ‘If God brought you to it, he’ll bring you through it,'” Huss said. “You have a choice, and my choice is to never give up and continue to beat this battle of cancer – no matter what it takes.”