My Y Story

Chloe McClure


While swimming at the Y, her Grandpa called her “the toughest little girl on the face of the earth”. Reading her medical history is all the proof you need to know that Chloe McClure is amazingly resilient in everything she does. But wait ‘til you see her do a cannon ball!

Bochloe1rn with Complex Congenital Heart Disease, Chloe has endured five open-heart or otherwise major heart surgeries. She’s only eleven years old.

In researching Chloe’s medical history and all the procedures she has braved through, it’s not only very scary but truly astonishing what she’s overcome! Approximately 9 people in 1,000 are born in the U.S. with a congenital heart defect. Many defects do not need treatment, but complex ones – like Chloe’s – require major surgery and lifelong maintenance.

Couple her extensive heart surgery record with a history of Ischemic strokes (decreased blood supply to the brain) and possessing a single kidney, Chloe indeed has some physical limitations.

…But don’t tell her that!

Now a fifth grader, Chloe has been swimming at the Y for over a year.

Her grandmother, Jeanette Hopkins, commented, “The Y has provided a wonderful outlet for Chloe’s physical and emotional health. She’s developed a very tight bond with [swim instructor] Claire and learned many strokes and how to dive.”

Claire May-Patterson – lifeguard, swim lesson teacher and soon-to-be art teacher – knows all too well about Chloe’s condition. She, herself, was born with a heart defect and this shared connection has helped the pair form a great relationship in and out of the pool. Claire is both a mentor and a friend to Chloe.

Jeanette continued, “We have really appreciated the time and commitment from the instructors and believe Chloe has gained a great deal from her time at the Y!”chloe3

“Chloe is surrounded by the most caring people and there are certain institutions [like the Y] that bring about safety, security and are the right kind of environment for anybody – but Chloe specifically,” said Bruce Hopkins, Chloe’s grandfather.

Although unable to participate in any contact sports due to her heart, swimming at the Y has helped Chloe find the confidence to take on anything. And you better believe, she’s now willing to dive into any deep end!

Olivia Essig, United Way of Siouxland, contributed to this article.

Watch Chloe’s story: