By Sadie All
Apr 7, 2022
“Anybody can take back their health and feel really healthy in their own skin,” Chloee Hurst, ’23 said.
And the Indiana State Dietetics major would know. A serious health scare early in her life prompted a lifestyle of wellness. In sixth grade, Hurst was diagnosed with a bone cancer, Osteosarcoma, in her maxilla. Only one in two million people develop cancer in that location on the upper jaw. She underwent 13 surgeries over two years to eradicate the cancer, including the removal of a large portion of her lung where nodules had spread.
Hurst was told that she wouldn’t be able to run anymore. Seeing it as a detour rather than dead end, she continued with cross-country, track, swim and cheer at West Vigo Middle School. She found major support from her community during her health challenges. Her school implemented a weekly “wear yellow” day (the color for Osteosarcoma awareness) for an early lunch dismissal.
“Every time I had a surgery, the only thing that ran through my head is: pain is temporary,” Hurst said. “You have to think every single day is going to get a little bit better. If you can get over your very worst day, it’s going to be brighter on the other side.”
Developing this perspective at a young age influenced Hurst’s goals when entering college. She knew she wanted to use information learned in nutritional diet and exercise to help others.
“If I’m able to come in and take the stress away from it and reassure them that this is something that they can do, then it makes me feel happy because I absolutely believe in it.”
Financial assistance in tuition was a huge benefit for Hurst in coming to Indiana State. She also thought the size of the university was “perfect” and she had plenty of opportunity to get involved. Hurst is a member of the Honors College, Sigma Kappa sorority and Timmy Global Health, among other campus organizations. She started out as a pre-med, biology and dietetics major.
Her freshman year, Hurst traveled to Guatemala for a service trip working on a coffee farm. The group of Indiana State students helped local farmers transport their equipment up a mountain to get to the coffee plants.
“It was an absolutely amazing experience. They have to drive almost two hours up the mountain where their coffee plants are. We built a water reservoir, and were putting down the cement.”
The service trip abroad has inspired Hurst for another. This spring she’ll travel to Ireland with the university and work on planting garden beds in a small cottage.
Now in her junior year, Hurst has already added a list of college activities to her resume. She also coaches cross-country at her former middle school and teaches yoga in Terre Haute. Doing so much has reminded her to take time for what she is truly passionate about, like health. She recently dropped pre-med and biology to study dietetics solely. She also has opened a nutrition education business, ‘Healthy Habits’ in Terre Haute which she plans to grow upon graduation into a dietetic practice and store front.
“Right now, I’m making meal plans weekly and then doing consultations with people for diet intervention, nutrition education and coaching for cross-country and triathlon.” Hurst said.
The Small Business Development Center on campus is aiding in that effort. The center put a call out for students to pitch their small business ideas, which led Hurst to their resources. She meets with staff regularly to create benchmarks for growing ‘Healthy Habits.’
She also works two days a week for an internship with Purdue Extension and Catholic Charities Food Pantry. She’s in the process of ranking the nutritional value of food within food banks and will give a presentation to the community on her work to spread awareness.
She’s previously worked in internships prepping meals for Terre Haute Meals on Wheels and food service management with Sodexo on campus.
“Internships allow the opportunity to jump right in and solve problems as they are presented in the moment instead of learning about it in a classroom setting.”
The real-world experience Hurst has enjoyed at State has helped shape her vision for the future.
“It’s important to set your goals super high and prioritize,” Hurst advised. “I worked hard for everything to unfold in front of me.”