Kansas Soccer Gives Back through Jayhawk Dreams Program

Nov. 4, 2010

LAWRENCE, Kan. – A day in the life for an average teenage girl could easily consist of soccer, gossiping about boys and dancing with friends. But for Krista Porter, who is no average teenage girl, last Friday was a day she won’t soon forget.

On Friday, Oct. 29, Kansas soccer invited Porter, a freshman at Osage City High School, to join them for the day as part of the Jayhawks Dreams program. Porter was given complete access as if she were another member of the team. However, Porter wouldn’t see any playing time, but it was not due to a lack of will.

Krista lives with a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which restricts her heart from properly circulating the blood throughout her body. She now takes medicine to slow down her heart, but participating in rigorous activity could result in sudden death. Porter was forced to give up soccer due to the condition.

“I love soccer, I miss it a lot,” Porter said. “I miss being able to play with my friends and other people I know.”

She now participates in the marching band in an effort to stay active, but even that comes with its limitations.

“I’m in the marching band, and I love it,” Porter said. “I play the cymbals, but I really love the snare drum. I’m not allowed to play it though because it’s too heavy for me. I’m not really supposed to be in marching band at all.”

Kansas Athletics pulled out all the stops for Porter. She not only had her own locker filled with an autographed soccer ball and official team t-shirt, but she was also led on a complete tour of the athletic facilities, including historic Allen Fieldhouse, by soccer players Madi Hillis and Jordyn Purdue.

“It is definitely a very cool feeling knowing that Krista chose to come hang out with the KU soccer team.” Perdue said. “It makes me really happy knowing that I could give her a fun experience that hopefully she can remember for a long time.”

While the day was tailored completely for Krista’s enjoyment, it is possible her mom, Samantha Adams, had an even better time. Even as the Jayhawk Soccer Complex filled with the parents of the eight seniors who were playing their final home game that day, Adams still could have won the award for proudest mom. Adams’ eyes clung to her daughter all day, overjoyed to see her daughter so happy.

Adams joked several times, that she did not know where her daughter was, because the quiet, reserved girl there that day was a different kid than she knew. She spoke about Porter with helplessness in her voice, just wanting her daughter to have everything in the world she deserved, and as a mother, student and full-time career woman, Adams was working to provide her just that.

The senior day festivities were intended only for the players, but it was almost as if the recognition was an overdue ceremony for Krista as well. She expressed understanding for the graduating eight, saying she too knows what it feels like knowing you’ll never play the sport you love again.

The Jayhawks went on to win defeat SIU-Edwardsville 3-0, and while Krista could not have subbed into the game, she sat on the bench as an equal on the team.

“(On my old team), they called me their secret weapon. If we were losing they’d put me in and we’d usually win,” Porter said.

With the team coming off a tough season, it is possible Porter was the Jayhawks’ secret weapon. Later this month, Porter will undergo open heart surgery. It was evident on Friday that the women of Kansas Soccer returned the favor, and are now the secret weapons in Krista’s life.

The Kansas Athletics “Jayhawk Dreams” program grants KU sports-themed wishes to children with medical conditions.