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Former STBTC advocate earns gold medal at Tokyo Paralympics

First-time Paralympian claims medal

Jillian Williams, who was featured in 2017 as an STBTC advocate for blood donations while undergoing cancer treatment, is coming home from the Paralympics in Tokyo with a gold medal.

Williams, who was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in 2016 while playing volleyball at Texas Lutheran University and lost part of her left leg, was a member of the 2021 U.S. sitting volleyball team that defeated China 3-1 in the gold-medal match in one of the final events of the Paralympics. It was her first trip to the Paralympics, which were Aug. 24-Sept. 5.

Click here to read more about the gold-medal game.

Team USA captures the gold. Williams wears jersey number 11.

Advocate for blood donations

Williams spoke to STBTC team members and encouraged the community to give blood while she was recovering from surgery and undergoing chemotherapy. She received blood and platelets transfusions during her treatment.

To help her remain active after her treatment, she and her parents chose a procedure called rotationplasty, where the cancerous portion of her leg was amputated and the bottom of her calf and foot were reattached, letting her ankle act as a knee.

Her first international competition in sitting volleyball came in 2018, when Team USA took a silver medal. The graduate of Sinton High School earned a degree in marketing at the University of Central Oklahoma. 

There’s more of her story at her official page on the U.S. Olympic Committee website.

Since her recovery, Williams has started a foundation called Live n Leap that helps fulfill needs and dreams to adolescent and young adult patients with life-threatening illnesses.

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