BOISE, Idaho — All through last season, Boise State volleyball's outside hitter Kayly Pau made appearances in 20 the Broncos' 35 matches — a decision she made despite being diagnosed with leukemia in June of 2021.
Before she was diagnosed, Pau was getting sick constantly and wasn't able to sleep. She listened to her body, and went to the hospital. After blood tests, doctors told her the diagnosis.
"When they said, 'We think you have leukemia,' it was kind of just like a moment of silence," said Pau in a press release.
While figuring out treatment, she had two goals. Pau wanted to maintain her long-term health while still pursuing her dream of playing volleyball. So she decided to play the game for as long as she could.
Balancing what her heart wanted and what her body could do was a challenge.
“There were somedays we would go and it was like, ‘We went a little hard’ and there were somedays that we were like ‘OK, this is a happy medium," said Pau during the press conference. "For me, mentally, I had to get over the fact that everyone was there for my best interest and if I didn’t have them and I just went with me then I probably wouldn’t be sitting here right now in this state.”
This past spring, Pau was declared cancer free. Now she is trying to get back to 100%. She has played in five of the 11 matches so far this season for the Broncos.
Through this process she said she has found a new fondness of the game.
“I love this game 10 times more, and my passion for and drive has increased tremendously,” said Pau in the release. “To me, it wasn't that I was going through something, it was that I was missing out on my full potential and that I decided to make my own story. I decided to choose my own fate… I did everything I could, knowing how far my limits were, and honestly, after going through all this, the sky is really the limit.”
The team's next match is against conference opponent New Mexico at 7 p.m. Thursday. For the match, the team is hosting Leukemia Awareness Night at Bronco Gym. Fans are encouraged to wear Orange which represents Leukemia awareness. The first 200 fans will receive orange rally towels and wristbands will be available.
Pau says the event means a lot to her.
“It means everything to me," said Pau. "This whole entire journey, I had the support of Bronco Nation, Bronco sports, and my coaches, and even my team. So, to have it become a reality and to share the story and to share everyone else and have them look at leukemia in a different way, it means more than the world to me.”
Tickets are available at the BSU tickets website.