WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Autumm Greene wanted more for herself when her collegiate softball career at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina came to an end.
“You know you have hours that you don’t know what to do with and I naturally just gravitated to the weight room,” said Greene.
Through the sport of powerlifting, Greene would become her biggest competition.
“You’re always chasing a number,” said Greene, on what she enjoys about the sport. “Right now, I’m trying to squat 500 pounds.”
The Sylvan Grove native placed fourth in this year’s Powerlifting Raw Nationals in Daytona Beach, FL with a total of 1,102 points, but outside of the gym, Greene would chase answers after she noticed a lump in her 2-year-old son, Cooper’s, neck in April.
“He can barely move his head or look around,” said Greene. “He’s waking up twice a night soaked in sweat from fevers. He’s really lethargic.”
After several months of uncertainty, the toddler was finally diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, Rosai-Dorfman Disease, which occurs when there is an over-production of abnormal white blood cells, that can lead to organ damage and tumor formation.
“He wants to, so bad, just feel good and be a normal kid and go play,” said Greene.
Now, the two-year-old will undergo two years of chemotherapy in an attempt to shrink the tumors in his neck.
“We’re very blessed that we’ve had more good days than bad,” said Greene. “Some days he refuses to take but other days he’ll chug it as fast as he can and then he flexes his muscles for us and tells us how strong he is.”
Through her son’s battle, Greene has learned that when life gets heavy, there isn’t a load she can’t carry.
“He’s definitely redefined the word strong for me,” said Greene. “I thought I was strong before, but he’s way stronger than I could ever be.”
To keep up with Cooper’s journey, you can follow his Facebook page.