Lake Stevens’ Katie Holloway with the cast of the Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team player Katie Holloway of Lake Stevens made her reality TV debut on Sunday, Oct. 9 on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Holloway’s athletic and life accomplishments attracted the show’s producers, who asked her to be an inspiring role model to a 10-year-old hero who lost her left leg and a kidney while saving her little sister from an oncoming pick-up truck.
“The producers of the show called the U.S. Paralympic offices and they referred them to me,” said Holloway, 25 who is one of the resident sitting volleyball athletes at the University of Central Oklahoma. “To be honest, I was nervous to meet her at first but when we were introduced she immediately gave me a hug.”
In February 2011, in Madison, Ga., then 9-year-old, Anaiah Rucker and younger sister Camry, six, were crossing the street to get to their school bus when the unthinkable happened. In a selfless and successful effort to save her sister’s life, Anaiah let go of her sister’s hand and took the blow of the approaching truck after pushing her sister out of harm’s way.
The impact broke Anaiah’s neck, injured her spleen and one of her kidneys and broke both of her legs. Doctors had to remove her kidney and amputate her left leg above the knee. Anaiah was given a prosthetic leg and alternates between her wheelchair and a walker to get around.
Holloway was the perfect fit for the job of ‘inspirational voice.’ The 6-foot-4 former Division I women’s basketball standout and 2008 Paralympic sitting volleyball silver medalist was born without a fibula in her right leg and had her foot amputated as a baby. She plays basketball with a prosthetic leg. She is also a member of the University of Central Oklahoma residence program.
“The whole experience helped me grow as a person because I realized early in the taping that I would be a lifetime mentor to Anaiah,” Holloway said. “Off camera, Anaiah and I were able to talk a lot and share stories. She is so positive and loves basketball and is willing to do what she has to do to be able to play. She won’t be in that wheelchair forever so she not only knows that she can play wheelchair basketball but she can also play standing basketball.”
It has been three months since the taping of the show and the relationship between Anaiah and her family and Holloway has been enduring. Holloway makes sure that she is available for both Anaiah and her family.
“When I was being driven to the airport, Anaiah’s grandmother asked me questions about young girl stuff, “Holloway said. “She asked about the struggles Anaiah may face growing up and what everyday life obstacles I found myself lost in when I was her age.”
With the episode a wrap, Holloway is excited to see it on television and see what her friends and family say about it. She also hopes that it may inspire those kids watching who might be going through a similar situation.
“My disability was the best thing that ever happened to me and I want everyone going through something like this to know that it will be a journey, but one that they are not on alone.”