It’s known as National Signing Day. An event when friends and family come to celebrate a high school athlete signing a letter of intent to play their chosen sport in college.
A.I. duPont was no different then many schools around the country last week, as LeRoy Lynch, James Naylor, and Chad Jones all declared to play football at different colleges.
Just under 7 percent of high school football players nationwide will get the chance to play in college, but for quarterback Chad Jones, beating those odds was no big deal.
He’d already tackled and defeated an enemy unlike any you’d see on a football field: Cancer.
“I was diagnosed at Age 11 with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, that’s bone marrow cancer. When I was first told, I didn’t know what to do. All I know was football, having fun, and living life. Being told that your life may be on pause, or come to an end, is a hard thing.”
Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer in infants, and accounts for 6% of all cancers in children, but it’s believed to be rare once you reach age 10.
In Chad’s case, his age put him in a high-risk category, where 40-50% of patients don’t make it 5 years.
His mother Rashaunda said there was another problem.
“At that point, it had spread throughout his entire body. Their goal was just to get him to be healthy. They had no idea that he would be able to play football or sports again. it was just for him to have a quality of life.”
To the amazement of Chad’s doctors, the treatments began to take hold quickly. The cancer was disappearing, and Chad says it comes down to a fighting spirit.
“Just having a positive attitude. It was no surprise to anybody that I was going well through treatment. If you would have walked in the room, you would be surprised and wonder why I was being treated. It didn’t look like anything was wrong with me. I just wanted to get back to get back to what I love to do, and who I love to be around, was the absolute drive.”
“They said it would take a while, they said we’d have to be patient with the process. Being the determined person I am, I didn’t like that very much, so I didn’t like it very much, so I used that for fuel in my positive energy.”
That positive energy meant that suddenly football was back in the equation for Chad, but he still had to convince Mom.
“Initially, as a mother, it was hard for me because I was still trying to protect him because he was still not at 100%. He was still getting back into school and getting the ways on the football field. It was tough for me to watch, especially because he was the quarterback.”
“Chad is mentally tough. He loves for people to tell him no, because when people tell him no, he just goes ahead and tries 3 or 4 times harder to do what they said he …read more
Source:: Daily times