Kate Foster loves the Chicago Bears. The assistant UNC gymnastics coach has followed the Bears her entire life, rooting for them through every NFL championship and during a heartbreaking loss to the Indianapolis Colts at the Superbowl.
When Kate was a child, she never could have imagined the day when she’d get to stand on a national stage, speaking on behalf of her all-time favorite NFL team. But that’s exactly what happened. In a letter to her 7-year-old self, Kate writes, “If you can believe it, in a few years, the Bears will be rooting for you. But you’re just a gymnast from Rockford, Illinois. What makes you so special?”
Kate shared this letter during a feature story for our client CBS Sports. Our video crews were honored to work with them to highlight exactly what makes Foster so special and how her story got the attention of her beloved Chicago Bears.
Born to be a gymnast
Kate actually does love one thing more than the Chicago Bears, and that’s gymnastics. She started training when she was six-years-old, and immediately, she was hooked. By age 11, Kate was practicing at the gym 25 hours each week.
Then, out of nowhere, Kate started feeling tired and sick and getting a lot of bruises. A blood test revealed a stunning diagnosis—acute myeloid leukemia—and it literally changed Kate’s life overnight. When the doctor told her parents, Kate was at the gym. Her parents picked her up and took her straight to the hospital.
Complications with chemotherapy led to an infection, and to save Kate’s life, doctors had no choice but to amputate her left leg. Not Kate’s style to complain, she was walking again in days and running in a few months. But then, the cancer came back and Kate returned to St. Jude’s Research Hospital for a second bone marrow transplant.
Her gymnastics coach told her not to give up. It inspired Kate to eventually return to the sport she loves. At age 13, two years after her cancer diagnosis, Kate was back at the gym; first conditioning, and eventually competing. Then, Kate’s dad posted a video on Facebook of her performing in a gymnastics competition, and the video went viral. At last check, the video had surpassed five million views.
A surprise from the Chicago Bears
Today, Kate is an inspirational speaker and spokesperson for St. Jude’s Hospital. She’s also a student at the University of North Carolina, where she serves as an undergraduate assistant and manager for the UNC gymnastics team.
“And then,” Kate writes in the letter to her younger self, “the strangest thing happens. A certain football team wants to say hello. Your beloved Bears.”
In 2017 the Chicago Bears invited Kate to announce their second round draft pick, Adam Shaheen. Meeting the Bears was a childhood dream come to life. Kate closes her letter with this: “You might think you’re a gymnast from Rockford. But give it a few years. You’ve got quite the story to tell.”
You can watch Kate’s story and hear the entire letter to her younger self HERE.