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Inspirational Stories


acute lymphoblastic T-cell leukemia (ALL)

I’ve always known that I wanted a career in sports in some capacity. My dream since I was in the third grade has been to become a professional football player, but I also was taught the reality of that dream. When you’re little of course you just want to be what you want to be, but as you get older you start to learn what can be in your reach and what the true reality is. As I grew older, I started to think about life after high school football and even college football, if I am blessed with that opportunity. I knew that I wanted to stay connected with sports in some capacity and Sports Medicine started to become something I was drawn to.

December 4th, 2021 I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic T-cell leukemia (ALL). Just when I thought I was going into the season of training, going on recruiting trips, going to football camps, and preparing my mind academically and body physically during the football off-season, I was just embarking on a completely different season of life. Here I was, in what seemed like a blink of an eye, fighting for my life. Soon I will be celebrating one year of being diagnosed with cancer. Yes, I will be celebrating my diagnosis of cancer. When I was first diagnosed, I never thought that I would be in the place where I currently am……. living. I had no idea what my life would look like. Here I was a 17-year-old teenager, a junior in high school, an athlete just coming off of a pretty great season, and just a kid looking to just be a kid. I have had more things thrown at me over the last several months than anyone ever should. I have had several serious hospital admissions and a couple of times; my family and I did not know what one day to the next would look like. Currently, I am in remission, in the maintenance phase of my treatment plan, and slowly getting back into school. Yes, I will be celebrating one year of my diagnosis, because I am well aware that I could definitely be in a different place.

During the last several months I have had a lot of time to think. I also have had a lot of time to focus on other things as well as seeing things in life quite differently. Thankfully I have had tremendous support from my family, community, school and teammates, and that has made me think about the difference I can try to make in the lives of others. There were so many things that were given to me that made my hospital stays feel a bit more tolerable. This started my family and I to start thinking about what we could do to make that same difference for other children and families. We decided to start something called Mission 6Strong. The 6Strong being a tribute started by my teammates in regards to my football number. I knew that I had to do something to give back, and this is something where my family and I raise funds to give back to families in my clinic in the form of food and gas cards as well as goodie bags for kids and teens.

I was always told by my teachers, coaches, and even my parents that I had natural leadership abilities, but it was never anything that I truly believed or embraced. Having something like this happen, really shows you what you are made of and I told myself from the start that if I get through this, I will embrace all of the abilities and opportunities God blessed me with. This is something that I really am going to try to do with my Mission 6Strong initiative, and at school with my friends and teammates. I want to lead by example and show others that no matter what your circumstances are or what hardships one battles, it does not define you. It might be one’s present, but does not have to be one’s future. I feel like I can use my situation as well as even football as a platform to promote this stance.

Throughout my treatment, I have had many visits with a physical therapist helping me with different goals. Some of them are things that seem so basic and nothing I ever imagined would be functions I would need to regain. One therapist in particular happens to be a good friend of my mothers. Just seeing her passion for her craft and patience really sparked my interest. During my time working with her, I learned that she too had a life-altering illness and it was her time through physical therapy that she knew that she wanted to help others who have gone through trials like herself. I started researching a bit more and realized that I would love to make that same difference in the lives of others. I still would like to pursue Sports Medicine, but would also like to involve physical therapy in my studies and degree plan. The cost of college is a massive burden on many families and watching my parents battle to take care of me, and my other siblings, balance their own jobs and just everything else that life brings their way, this scholarship would be a tremendous blessing. Not only will I be starting college soon, but my older brother as well as my step-father are in college. This scholarship opportunity would help just alleviate their financial stress as well as help me achieve the amazing accomplishment of graduating from college.

When everything is said and done with this life, I just want to be remembered as someone who loved their friends and family, was a kind human, lived out what I set out to do in some capacity, and just touched at least one life. I’ve had to mature faster than I ever imagined, but with that has come so many life lessons in such a short amount of time. No matter what one may face in life, it’s how one lives in and through it, not how one lets it define them. I hope to live this life not as someone who has/had cancer, but as someone who used that battle to make them the best possible version of themselves.

Myles scholarship acute lymphoblastic T-cell leukemia (ALL)