Kelley Coco was 16 when cancer invaded her body. Frightened, and searching for something, or someone, to hold on to, she journeyed from Boston to the Silver Lining Ranch in Aspen in the summer of 2000.
That’s when she met Andrea Jaeger.
Coco had no clue that Jaeger, at age 16, had been the second-ranked tennis player in the world, a pigtailed, 5-foot-5, 130-pound pixie who slammed winners from the baseline. Coco didn’t know that Jaeger escaped the insular world of professional tennis at age 19, searching for something more fulfilling in her life.
All Coco knew was she felt a warm glow when Jaeger flashed a smile and welcomed her with a sisterly hug.
I felt like I was the most special person in the world,” said Coco, now a Los Angeles-based producer for the Hallmark Channel whose non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma has been in remission for seven years. In September 2006, at age 41, Jaeger was ordained as a Dominican nun in the Episcopal Church. Coco was not the least bit surprised.
“It made perfect sense,” Coco said. “I had never met anybody else who really lived what they preached. But she lives it 100 percent.”