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Shon – 18 Years Old

September 10, 2010

TGIF Everyone! This Friday came fast, didn’t it? All hail the three-day weekend and the consequential 4-day work week! The best part of all is that this week’s Inspiration Story came faster too. Let me tell you about a great guy named Shon:

In February, Shon’s life was planned out: high school graduation, college, the NFL draft [how cool is that?!?]. He had just signed to play football at Auburn University on a full scholarship. In 2009, he was Mississippi’s top-ranked high school football player and was ranked 22nd in the nation and third in his position as an offensive lineman.

But in March 2010, Shon’s plans were thrown for a loop when doctors found he suffered from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). For several months, Shon’s mother, DeKeishia, had noticed small lumps appearing across his body, but it was easy to dismiss them as after effects of practice or a game. Shon had the lumps removed, and his doctor, who thought they were benign tumors made up of fatty tissue, sent them in for a biopsy. “We had no reason to think they were anything serious,” DeKeishia recalled.

A week later, the doctor received the results, which indicated that Shon had cancer. He was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital immediately, where doctors made the diagnosis of ALL.

Shon is undergoing chemotherapy. He has responded well to treatment, and his cancer is in remission. St. Jude staff works with Shon to make sure his dreams—of playing football at Auburn and the NFL—are still possible. Because his immune system is compromised, Shon cannot participate in group practices, but he works with the physical therapy staff at St. Jude to keep his agility and strength up. “They’re doing everything they can to keep him in shape,” DeKeishia said of Shon’s treatment team.

Auburn University has reached out to Shon. The football coaches and the chaplain call weekly. Message boards are filled with well wishes from people across the country, including fans from the University of Alabama, Auburn’s biggest rival. Boston College’s Mark Herzlich, himself a cancer survivor, has called Shon to offer words of encouragement.

“So much good has come of this,” DeKeishia said. “I’ve seen a lifetime of goodness in these past few months.” While Shon has a long journey ahead of him, he’s ready to face it head on.


I love this inspiration story for two reasons: 1. Shon’s cancer is already in remission and 2. Because he and Mark Herzlich are two people who not only inspire me in my life, but they inspire younger kids with cancer to see a future for themselves.

I only have to run 7 miles tomorrow, but Shon and Mark, that lucky No. 7 is all for you!  Keep up the good work and good luck!

PS – Did you know that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?

The National Childrens Cancer Society recommends raising childhood cancer awareness by asking your school [if work for or you go to one] to recognize the month, wear a gold ribbon on your lapel, writing the local newspaper editor about doing a story on childhood cancer [or tell them to write about this blog!], and to ask your local library to feature books about childhood cancer this month.

Additionally, I’m going to ask that you, dear reader, help me raise childhood cancer awareness this month by telling TWO FRIENDS about this blog and asking each of them to make a $5 donation (and don’t forget to mention that their $5 donation enters them into the Marathon or Bust Raffle!).

Tonight I’ll be working on the latest and greatest for Marathon or Bust – stay tuned because I’m going to post some pictures tomorrow or Sunday and I think it’s REALLY good. Lastly, a special thank you to everyone who has made a donation, left me a comment, sent me a supportive note, and/or referred people to this page and more.  I definitely have my moments where I think, “Ugh. $26,200 seems so far away!” And then, each and every time, somehow, someone or something, comes along that reminds me I can’t give up. Thank you!

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