UW Women's Center

Katie Collier

Women of Courage

Katie Collier is a senior at the University of Washington, majoring in Early-Childhood and Family Studies. A forward for the nationally ranked women’s basketball team, Collier’s dream to play college basketball nearly ended when she was diagnosed with leukemia shortly before her senior year of high school.

Rather than succumb to her diagnosis and her doctor’s assessment that she will never play basketball again, Collier carved out her own path. In the midst of an eight-month chemotherapy program, Collier rejoined the basketball team. She graciously played through the pain when her port was slammed during games, overlooked the endless bruising on her body, and pursued her dreams with poise and grit. As a testament to Colliers’ character, all schools on the short list she created prior to diagnosis honored their scholarship offers, including UW, UCLA and Gonzaga.

Declared cancer-free in April, she arrived at UW in late June for summer school basketball workouts. On July 30th, she tore her ACL, MCL and meniscus. Like she did with cancer, Collier refused to give up and joined the starting squad her junior and senior years. Collier helped guide her team to the program’s first-ever NCAA Final Four appearance last season, and has started 26 of 28 games this season, including the semi-final game of the Pac-12 tournament against University of Oregon.

In addition to her persistence and success on the court, Collier gives back to her community, particularly to the causes of childhood cancer treatment and research. Collier has given speeches on behalf of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Seattle Children’s Hospital, and completed an internship at the Ronald McDonald House in 2014. Seattle’s local chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society also nominated her for its Woman of the Year award in 2015.