One Year After Cancer Diagnosis, Trina Rinke is back on the Soccer Pitch

Posted on September 7th, 2018 by

Trina Rinke, shown here during her sophomore season, is playing soccer again after battling ovarian cancer.

SAINT PETER, Minn. – Last summer, Gustavus women’s soccer senior Trina Rinke (Waconia, Minn.) received shocking news that would change the course of her life. Rinke was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on July 5, 2017, and underwent surgery just five days later to remove cancerous tumors. Less than a year later, Rinke is back on the field for the Gusties and has already made her way onto the field in a regular season game.

Trina and her roommates in the hospital.

Looking back on the whole scenario that unfolded with Rinke, head coach Laura Burnett-Kurie said, “You never want it to happen, but if it was going to happen to someone, Trina was the best one because of her personality and because of her strength. One of the first things we talked about when addressing the team was to just instill confidence in them that things were going to be okay, because when Trina has that positive mindset right from the get-go its a lot easier to go through the process because she’s always positive.”

After receiving four rounds of chemotherapy Rinke went back into the doctor’s office on Oct. 19 to receive what would be her last surgery and was told the same day that she was free of the disease.

One of the most noticeable aspects Rinke saw throughout her treatment was how great of a support system she had. She acknowledges how awesome and supportive her family, friends, teammates and boyfriend were throughout treatment, but the one facet that really stuck out to her was the Gustavus community.

“My teammates had the idea for the Team Trina game that we did last year, and it was such a crazy, amazing day that I still can’t even fathom,” she said. “When I see people who I don’t know at all walking around in Team Trina shirts its just wild and goes to show how amazing Gustavus is and how close our community is here.”

Trina kayaking in Oregon during her adventure with First Descents this summer.

Touching on the same topic, Burnett-Kurie said, “From the coaches’ perspective and the team perspective I have to give a shoutout to the Gustavus community. I wasn’t the individual with cancer but people would come up and ask if I was doing okay, and what they could do to support the team and that showed a lot about the community we have here.”

After taking on one challenge of battling and beating cancer, getting back into soccer has been a whole different battle for Rinke. Laughing about the topic now, Rinke said, “The first time I got back on a treadmill, I ran for two minutes before I started to lose my legs, and then I remember getting to five minutes, so the process was really slow but it was totally worth it knowing that I had the chance to be with my teammates. It didn’t matter if I played or if I didn’t, I just wanted to be on the team and in the atmosphere with all of my best friends.”

Saturday, Rinke and the Gusties host Nebraska-Wesleyan at 1 p.m. for the Team Trina game. There will be a silent auction held during the game and there will a voluntary donation to enter the game with all proceeds going to First Descents, the charity of Trina’s choice, which provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults impacted by cancer.


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