By: Bradley Cole
Friday night’s softball game between North and West Henderson won’t be an ordinary one for the county rivals.
The two teams will dedicate their game to North Henderson softball player Tori Renfroe. The game will start at 4 p.m. at North.
Over the last year, Renfroe has battled VHL. VHL, or Von Hippel-Lindau Syndrome, is a hereditary condition associated with hemangioblastomas, which are blood vessel tumors of the brain, spinal cord, and eye. This rare form of cancer causes its patients to have tumors throughout their body and is a genetic condition.
Players will wear green ribbons on their jerseys to support Renfroe.
Renfroe was diagnosed with the disease in February of 2016 after experiencing pains in her left eye. After multiple tests and hospital visits, it was discovered she had VHL, along with sixteen tumors. Initially, a number of emotions ran through the then sixteen year old’s mind.
“Honestly, I laughed when I first found out. I was just shocked. I didn’t know how to respond and just laughed,” said Renfroe.
The coming months for Renfroe were difficult. Everyday life became an uphill battle, as her classes were harder to sit through, and daily activities were harder to complete.
However, she didn’t quit.
Renfroe, who was a relatively busy person before her diagnosis, stays occupied even though her world was turned upside down. She still continues all of her daily activities, which include softball, DECA, National Honors Society, NHHS Student Government, cheerleading, working a part-time job, and maintaining an impressive 4.1 GPA. On top of it all, Renfroe makes monthly trips to Duke University for treatment.
Her fighting attitude hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Tori is a fighter,” North softball coach Keri Burnside said. “She never gives up, she always wants to get better at whatever she’s doing. She’s going to give 100 percent effort, no matter how she’s feeling.”
The high school senior, who will have to live with VHL for the rest of her life, won’t let that stop her from achieving her lifelong dreams. She plans to attend Western Carolina’s Honor College, and then attend Law School to become a lawyer.
“I’ve very aware that my kind of cancer, you don’t beat it, you live with it,” Renfroe said. “Quality of life: that’s what I’m going for. I want to get a college degree, have a career, have a family; all that stuff.”
As for support, Renfroe knows she can count on a continuous supply from family members and her school.
“I felt the support since it all happened,” Renfroe said on how she has had support through her battle. “It keeps coming. The support doesn’t stop.”