…99 Days Until Race Day
Today was for Bucky.
Let me say this upfront, this could get long. I hope you stay with it until the end.
Let me also add, that if I had a son, I’d want him to be Bucky.
If I had a daughter, I’d want her to marry Bucky.
I interviewed Bucky for The New 93Q Radiothon when he was 17 and battling cancer. I had received a short bio on him and it said that he played baseball. Having played for 22-years myself, we had a common ground to talk about.
“I have always lived for baseball. My first high school activity was very fittingly, baseball. By junior year, I had made the varsity team. There were no better days that those spent on the baseball field with my teammates.” – Bucky
Bucky was a pitcher for his high school baseball team in his junior year and he had unusual pain in his pitching arm so he went to the doctor. Three days later, he was in surgery for an invasive biopsy and less than a week later, he was given the diagnosis of Ewing’s Sarcoma, a very rare and aggressive cancer. It accounts for about 1% of childhood cancer and less than 1% of Ewing’s sarcoma tumors are found in the radius, which is where Bucky’s was in his right forearm.
His throwing arm.
In 9 months of treatment, Bucky received 14 rounds of in-patient chemotherapy (about 75 nights in the hospital), 4 surgeries and 5 blood transfusions.
The most complicated surgery was done in August 2009 “surgeons removed the radius of my right arm which was full of cancer. The surgery involved not only removing this bone, but also fusing the wrist and reattaching all of the tendons and muscles to the remaining ulna ‘to create a one-bone forearm’”. – Bucky
On that August day, doctors helped save Bucky‘s life and his arm, leaving him the ability to do almost everything. The one thing Bucky could no longer do though, from that day on, was the thing he “lived for”.
“I still love baseball but I will never be able to play again. I have lost the ability to rotate my right wrist. However, the result of all this disappointment is that I am alive and my cancer is dead.” – Bucky
So, what do you do when cancer takes away the one thing you loved to do the most?
In the summer of 2013, 68 other students and Bucky rode their bikes over 4000 miles from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska.
Along the 70 day journey, they pedaled an average of 70 miles a day but also visited cancer patients, attended fundraisers and held cancer awareness events.
Bucky was the route director for the 22 riders on the Sierra route. He was responsible for making sure they took the correct turns, made their events on time, and ate meals.
“I used to live for baseball. Now, I live because of baseball. If I had not been pitching when the cancer started, it may have gone undetected until the bone broke and the cancer metastasized as is frequently the case with Ewing’s sarcoma.
I did not plan to get cancer, but it happened. I have embraced my new life-plan as a cancer fighter and advocate for pediatric cancer. In the fall of 2014, I began medical school as part of the current version of my life-plan. I am in my third year at UTHealth and I am exploring many different kinds of medicine.” – Bucky
Bucky is a Snowdrop Foundation scholarship recipient. During our Radiothon interview, I asked him where he wanted to go to college. He rattled off his list of dream schools, but then told me that he wouldn’t be going to any of them because, “I have 2 younger brothers who will go to college and I don’t want them to have to compromise where they want to go because of the expense of my choice.”
Bucky said that to me when he was 17-YEARS-OLD!!!
Bucky, today’s run included 30 minutes of overpass repeats and throughout the run I felt strong, light and energized. You…Are…The…Man!
Off day tomorrow. Thank you, Lord.