CalHOPE Courage Award Winners

The monthly CalHOPE award honors student-athletes at California colleges and universities who have overcome the stress, anxiety, and mental trauma associated with personal hardships and adversity. Here’s a closer look at the inspiring personal stories of the latest CalHOPE Courage Award honorees.

Jennah Loggins

San Jose State University
| Soccer

Jennah Loggins, a senior psychology major with a minor in kinesiology and forward for the San Jose State Spartan women’s soccer team, has overcome tremendous challenges in her young life. Just a year after she was born, she lost her mother to an asthma attack. Soon after her mother’s death, her father left, forcing Jennah and her three siblings to live with relatives. During her childhood, resources were scarce: there were times when Jennah and her siblings went without food or running water.

Being one of the few minorities at South Hills High School in Covina, she often dealt with racism and had a difficult time making friends. Sports proved an invaluable outlet for Jennah, providing an opportunity for her to distinguish herself. Over the course of four years, she scored an impressive 12 goals on behalf of the soccer team and broke the school record for both the 100m and 4x100m relays on the track team.

Just weeks before leaving for San Jose State, Jennah tore her ACL in a pick-up soccer game that would require surgery and force her to redshirt her freshman year.  Then, just four games into her sophomore season, she tore the ACL in her other leg and missed the remainder of that season. After an infection from her first surgery forced her to undergo a third surgery, her junior season was limited to just 14 games.  In recognition of her resilience, Jennah was presented last year with the Spartan’s Sammy Award for “Most Inspirational Player”.

This year, fully healthy for the first time, she appeared in seven games, helping the Spartans start the season with a 2-3-3 record.

“No matter how hard it’s gotten, I’ve always looked to God and the people in my life who have always been there to support me in some of my darkest times,” explained Jennah. “I’ve always kept a positive mindset and never given up, no matter the challenges or adversity in front of me.”

Jenika Davis

UC Irvine
| Soccer

Just five games into her freshman soccer season at UC Irvine, Jenika was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). The rare form of cancer would require a blood stem cell transplant for the 19-year-old Encinitas native.

In the weeks before her diagnosis, Jenika’s new friends and coaches expressed concern about Jenika’s atypical behavior. Her teammates and coaches knew something was wrong when the effervescent jokester became unusually lethargic and languid.  Her roommates grew concerned when she spent more time in bed and suffered a loss of appetite. When the team trainers noticed unexplained bruising, they gave her a blood test that revealed AML.

Upon hearing the diagnosis, the UC Irvine women’s soccer team sprang to action, partnering with Be The Match to help pair their teammate with a donor.  During a UC Irvine basketball game, they screened attendees with a simple cheek swab and found 97 potential donors.

Their work paid off; a donor with a matching blood type was found last spring. Jenna underwent four rounds of chemotherapy: three rounds before finding the donor and one round after finding the donor.

While Jenika’s diagnosis prevented her from playing soccer, she was the inspiration for the Anteaters claiming their second consecutive Big West Conference championship. The team hung her #39 jersey on their bench and wrote “JD39” on the tape around their wrists.

Just six months after her blood stem cell transplant, Jenika is exercising, running, and, most importantly for her, spending time with her teammates.

“I never would have been able to get through what I did without the amazing support systems I had,” said Jenika.  “My doctors, teammates, and family all provided such overwhelming support that I had no doubt I would bounce back. It is great to be back with the team, but my journey will truly be complete once I am able to get back on the field.”

About the CalHOPE Courage Award

Presented since February 2022, the CalHOPE Courage Award, recognizes two student-athletes at California colleges and universities monthly for overcoming the stress, anxiety, and mental trauma associated with personal hardships and adversity.

At the end of the school year, two of the student-athletes recognized during the year will be selected as annual CalHOPE Courage Award winners and a donation will be made in each of their names toward mental health services.

It is presented by the College Sports Communicators (formerly CoSIDA), in association with The Associated Press (AP); CalHOPE, DHCS’ crisis counseling and support resource; and the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Mental Wellbeing.