Kettering girl who battled cancer youngest to earn volunteer award

KETTERING — Chloe Adkins is Kettering’s youngest recipient of the mayor’s volunteer award after continuing to freely offer her services while battling cancer.

The 9-year-old said she has been volunteering nearly half of her life, more than five months of which was spent enduring treatments for Stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma before being declared cancer free several weeks ago.

The youth volunteer honor is typically given to those ages 12 to 17. But the city’s advisory council for the award deemed the third grader the most deserving, Kettering Community Information Manager Mary Azbill said.

“Chloe has demonstrated a level of empathy and compassion way beyond her years,” school district spokeswoman Kari Basson said before Mayor Peggy Lehner presented the award earlier this month.



The nomination was made by Kettering schools gifted intervention specialist Karen Kronour.

“In my 24 years of teaching, I have never met anyone like Chloe,” according to Kronour. “Even though I am her teacher, she has taught me more than I could ever teach her.”

Chloe said she started volunteering with her mother, Kelly, when she was 4. The Indian Riffle Elementary School student has been involved with her younger brother Jake in the Kettering Backpack program, which helps provide food to children.

She also organized a program called Kind Cakes to help youth celebrate their birthdays and recently worked to hold a blood drive at Town & Country Shopping Center.

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“I like doing the backpack program because I do that the most,” Chloe said. “I like that it helps kids who need the food.”

The blood drive stemmed from her battle with cancer, which was diagnosed in October 2021 and required frequent treatments — including blood transfusions — at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Kelly Adkins said.

“I didn’t know that cancer patients need blood (and) she said we should tell people about that,” added the Fairmont High School grad.

The Community Blood Center helped organized the event, she said.

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The cancer treatments were “not really that hard and they give you numbing cream when they have to access you,” Chloe said.

“They give you medicine,” she added. “But you can do normal stuff while they were doing that.”

Upon learning she was cancer free in early March, Chloe said she “was excited but also it takes a little bit to sink in.”

Through the cancer diagnosis and treatments, “she’s been awesome,” Kelly Adkins said.

“She’s like all kids. They’re a lot more resilient than adults are. So, she dealt with it pretty well,” her mother said.

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“She (said) ‘OK. What do we have to do and let’s go do it.’ She was a trooper through all of it,” she added. “I think her positive mindset about it definitely helped her. She’s not one to wallow when she’s hurt. She just powers through it and does the next thing.”

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