Bella’s journey with cancer started in 2018 just as she was beginning her freshman year in high school. At the time, she was running cross country and dancing competitively. There were no symptoms, other than an ongoing skin issue, to prepare her and her family for a diagnosis of leukemia. After 6 months of intense chemotherapy, most of which was in-patient, Bella reached remission and began to get back to life as a teenager. However, the remission and any normalcy lasted only a short time, and right before her sophomore year in high school, Bella’s cancer returned. At this point, the doctors realized just how rare her particular type of Leukemia was, and Bella spent the next two years being treated in Texas and California, participating in clinical trials and fighting through two bone marrow transplants. Even though Bella spent her entire four years of high school undergoing treatment, she is currently cancer free and graduating from high school this June. Through it all Bella has used her story to raise awareness and funding for cancer research, and most recently, she and her twin sister participated in and won the 2021 Students of the Year fundraising campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Minnesota.
Sophie’s Squad was founded in 2021 after teammate Sophie Wieland lost a silent three year battle to mental health and suicide. Our mission is to improve the mental health of athletes from youth to college by raising awareness of mental health issues and removing the stigma associated with seeking help.
Nearly 1 in 5 adults suffer from some form of mental illness, and suicide is the number one cause of death for college athletes. We believe that sports are a valuable learning platform for our youth, and it’s critical to help increase the awareness that mental health needs to be a focus.
Through our “Hockey Hits Back” events we have reached over 850 student athletes, countless fans, and have had over 1,000 volunteer hours in just six months. We are working to ensure these athletes know it’s OK to not be OK. That there’s always HOPE, there’s always HELP.
The Dalluge Family
On Valentine’s Day of this year, Katie and Micah went in for their routine 20 week ultrasound and were told the unexpected and heartbreaking news that their baby girl had anencephaly. Anencephaly is a rare and fatal birth defect where a baby is missing a major portion of the brain and skull. They prepared for what would be a second loss after experiencing a painful miscarriage in 2019. Katie was always very open with sharing about her miscarriage and the grief that came with that loss, their daughter Summer Grace. Her goal with sharing was to bring healing to herself and to give other women struggling with miscarriage a safe space to talk through their pain. Katie was always focused on others. She went into this loss sad and scared, but with her very strong faith in God that He would carry her and Micah through this hard time. She believed that she would be seeing both of her baby girls in heaven some day.
On Friday morning, February 18, Katie and Micah went in to deliver their stillborn baby girl, Laney Mae. It was a long labor, and in many ways Katie was at peace amidst the heartbreak. Late Saturday evening on February 19, still in labor and undelivered, Katie suddenly went into cardiac and pulmonary arrest and passed away despite every effort from the doctors and nurses. Her cause of death likely a result of a rare pregnancy complication called an amniotic fluid embolism or a pulmonary embolism. Katie was 28 years old.
Katie left behind her husband, Micah (married for 6 years), and two sweet boys, Rory (age 3) and Nolan (20 months old). She was an amazing wife, friend, daughter, sister, and mom. Being a mom was everything to Katie and she was amazing at it. Her boys were her world. Katie was authentic, witty, sarcastic, fun, and always came with an infectious smile and warm hug. She welcomed everyone with no judgement, she celebrated and encouraged. She was a giver, and was known for her hand written notes and gift baskets that she would drop off at your house for any occasion, or no occasion at all, just “because”. She had a closet full of supplies ready to put together care packages at a moments notice. She loved Jesus and her strong faith was always very evident to all. She was loved by everyone that knew her and is incredibly missed.