Miller beyond thankful to save a young girl’s life
Special to the Enquirer
HANCEVILLE – This Thanksgiving and holiday season will carry more significance for Wallace State Community College sophomore Callie Miller, an All-Conference volleyball player from Hartselle who has maintained a 4.0 grade point during an impressive career.
And her most selfless act this year didn’t come on the court or classroom.
Miller learned in late October that a bone marrow transplant she underwent in July has helped save the life of a 6-year-old girl, who was battling cancer. Legal restrictions prevent Miller from meeting the young girl until one year has passed since the procedure, but a letter recently arrived in the mail from Miller’s recipient, confirming the girl is cancer free and has favorably reacted 100 percent to the bone marrow cells.
“To know she is cancer free is beyond exciting and such a blessing. I actually don’t know if it’s still totally hit home,” Miller said. “Her life was going to depend on how she reacted to the bone marrow and it’s amazing to know it worked out successfully. The whole process has been incredible.”
Along with the letter, Miller received a stuffed animal and a picture from the young girl.
Less than two weeks after the encouraging news, Miller and the Wallace State volleyball team won the program’s third consecutive Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) state tournament championship. Miller was named a 1st-team All-ACCC Region 22 performer for her regular-season accomplishments, finishing as the league leader in digs and digs per set.
Miller’s bone marrow donation initially started when she was a high school senior in 2010, as a quest to possibly match her type to a high school friend’s mother battling leukemia in Hartselle. Miller’s marrow was not compatible to the friend’s mother, but about six months later she received a call about another potential match. Miller went through a more detailed path, including drawing blood to see if her marrow could complement the new patient, but doctors again found a better match.
Another call came to Miller in late April, asking her to travel to Atlanta to perform the procedure again and it proved to be the ultimate match for the 6-year old.
“It was a quick process in Atlanta. We were basically in and out of there in 24 hours,” Miller said. “It was a no-brainer.”
Miller’s recipient, who had to remain in the hospital 100 days after the operation, has the option of a face-to-face meeting after a year has passed. It’s an encounter Miller hopes transpires at the appropriate time.
“That would be awesome, definitely uplifting and a day you would never forget,” she added.
Miller was an integral part of the volleyball team winning 95 matches and two state titles in her two seasons and her leadership is an attribute that Wallace State coach Randy Daniel always admired.
“Callie has taught us how to be successful with her great attitude and personality and willingness to help others in need,” Daniel said. “Callie’s legacy as a Wallace State student-athlete is insurmountable in every aspect. Her value to the Wallace State volleyball program and school is historic.”
Miller plans to transfer to the University of Alabama in the fall and major in special education.