VALLEY CENTER, Kan. (KSNW) – It has been a whirlwind month for Valley Center football player Dakota Deshazer.
The sophomore center saw time on both JV and varsity this season. However, things all changed during a practice last month.
“The very first time I realized it was actually here in football practice right over there, we were doing a drill, and I ended up getting elbowed in the neck, five minutes later, I felt this really small lump,” said Deshazer.
Over the course of the next month, Deshazer says that lump continued to grow.
The day after his 16th birthday, on October 11th, he landed in the emergency room and eventually at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. It was there they would diagnose him with stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“I got really emotional because you never think it would happen to you, you know,” said Deshazer. “I was just in disbelief, I’m still in disbelief.”
Just a few days later, Deshazer had his first chemotherapy treatment.
“I had chemo treatment last Thursday and that went pretty good, I’ve had some of the side effects,” said Deshazer.
Through it all, he has had support from his family and the community.
“We have people calling us every day asking what they want to do and we are just overwhelmed with support we have,” said Gretchen Deshazer, Dakota’s mother.
He’s also had his Hornets there, right by his side.
Last Friday, after getting out of the hospital, Deshazer made the trip to Arkansas City to see his Hornets take on the Bulldogs.
He walked into the locker room at halftime to cheers, yells and hugs.
Head coach Scott L’Ecuyer called it an electric moment.
“Our guys have big hearts and they were definitely concerned for him, so when he walked into that locker room it was pretty electric,” said L’Ecuyer.
With everyone in his corner and a positive outlook, Deshazer is hoping to serve as an inspiration to others.
“I feel like this is something I’ll always be able to bring up as an example that you can always push through the hardest and come out on top,” said Deshazer.
Deshazer says his next chemo treatment will be on Wednesday. In all, he is expected to have to do six months of treatment.
A GoFundMe has also been started for Deshazer’s fight against cancer.