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Lindsey Vonn develops friendship with young skier battling cancer

Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Women's Downhill

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - JANUARY 21: Lindsey Vonn of USA takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Downhill on January 21, 2017 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (Photo by Stanko Gruden/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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Lindsey Vonn says that Hedda Sivertsson is “as big of an inspiration to me as I am to her.”

Hedda, a 14-year-old skier, was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a malignant high-risk, cancerous tumor in her brain in summer 2015. She skied through chemotherapy and radiation. The cancer was briefly in remission, but came back. She underwent another brain surgery last month.

Vonn and Hedda struck up a friendship in 2016 and have exchanged video messages. In November, Vonn met Hedda in Colorado, documented by the U.S. Ski Team.

“When you meet an amazing girl who is bravely battling cancer, it makes the important things in life more clear,” was posted on Vonn’s social media. “Hedda you inspire me. Keep fighting girl.”

This past week, Vonn received a video message from Hedda, who was recently released after spending a month in the hospital and undergoing the brain surgery. The video was played for Vonn by Sweden newspaper Expressen. Hedda’s parents are Swedish.

Hedda congratulated Vonn for coming back from three fractures in her left knee and a broken right upper arm to win a downhill the previous weekend.

“I’m hoping to recover soon as well,” said Hedda, who lives in New Jersey. “I hope you have good luck this weekend.”

Vonn called Hedda “a fighter.”

“I’m grateful that she reached out to me,” Vonn said. “She’s just as big of an inspiration to me as I am to her.”

For more on Hedda, visit the Team Hedda Facebook page.

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