Blue Springs South’s senior Jacksyn McIntyre thankful he’s cancer free

Bill Althaus | the examiner

Love, hope and faith are more than words found on three plaques hanging in the dining room of the McIntyre family home in Blue Springs.

Together with family, friends, prayers and medical professionals, they form the foundation that has helped Jacksyn McIntyre and his family survive a cancer ordeal that is now cause for celebration and thanksgiving.

McIntyre, a senior all-state soccer player at Blue Springs South High School and one of the top strikers in the metro area, was diagnosed with cancer when he was just 13 years old.

Today he is cancer free.

“And Thanksgiving days are very special in my house,” says McIntyre, whose family and friends played such a pivotal role in his recovery.

“I’ll never forget the day – July 27, 2016 – and my doctor told me I had lymphoma. I was 13, I didn’t know what lymphoma was. So I asked, ‘What is that?’ And they told me a cancer. I asked, ‘Will I survive? Will I be able to play football again?'”

The answer is now an emphatic yes to both questions.

“It’s the hardest thing we’ve ever been through,” said his mother, Kim McIntyre, who kept track of the entire process, including numerous photos of Jacksyn at the Children’s Mercy hospital with his family and friends, “but Jacksyn’s strength and courage helped us.” to get through this as a family.

“It meant so much to him to have his family with him – day and night in the hospital – and his friends were always there. And they were just 13 or so, so their parents had to take them to the hospital. It was an amazing experience.” time – a terrifying time in our lives, but a great time.”

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While the McIntyre family sat in their dining room, Kim pulled out diaries and scrapbooks that tracked every moment of the journey.

“When you hear the word ‘cancer’ and they talk about your son, it’s as difficult and difficult as any moment in my life,” said his father, Jack McIntyre. “But he had the best care in the world – the doctors at Children’s Mercy are amazing. He even befriended some of his doctors and members of the staff, but it was so heartbreaking.”

His grandfather, Gary Wood, was a frequent visitor to the hospital, and he jokes, “Jacksyn has the best personality. He was a big hit at the hospital with the doctors, nurses, everyone. I think they like him almost as much loved as his family and love played a huge part in his recovery.”

On July 27, 2016, a biopsy was performed and the next day a port was surgically inserted into Jacksyn’s chest to pump the chemotherapy drugs into his body.

There would be two cycles of chemotherapy – which Jacksyn called, “the bad” 2-4-6 cycles and the “not so bad” 1-3-5 cycles that administered different doses of chemo.

“We knew he was in so much pain and he knew he was going to lose his hair, so his older brother Austyn and Jack shaved their heads to support him,” Kim said with tears in her eyes. “Even a neighbor and one of my former students shaved their heads to support him. We had support from so many people.”

That included former Southern football coach Jon Grice, who is now the school’s activities director.

“We all knew how much Jacksyn wanted to go back to school and play football, and he reached that goal (February 11), which was an inspiration to me, our team and really the whole school,” Grice said. “And if you look at him today and you could never tell he had a sick day, his life is. He and his family are truly incredible.”

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There is one telltale sign of his greatest challenge, and that is a one-inch razor-sharp scar on his neck where the tumor has been removed.

“I know it’s there, and my friends and family know it’s there and why it’s there, but people ask me about it, and I tell them I have cancer, and they say, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry .’ said Jacksyn. “And I tell them not to be sorry. I’m a survivor and I want everyone to know that, to give every little kid like me hope that you can survive something like cancer.”

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On this incredible journey, Jacksyn simply said, “I’ve got this!” And that became the rallying cry for his family.

“When he was able to come home, he was our bubble boy — we just wanted to keep him in a bubble, to keep him safe,” Jack said.

Last season, he was named to the Class 4 all-state first team after tallying 21 goals and nine assists. He is a favorite to repeat the honor after being named to the All-Region 3 team last week following his senior season in which he scored 16 goals and provided 13 assists, despite being the focal point of defense for many opponents .

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At a time usually reserved for fairytales, Jacksyn had a hat-trick this season in an emotionally charged 3-2 Sheridan Cup win over crosstown rival Blue Springs. The Sheridan Cup is named after South’s former assistant coach Dave Sheridan, who battled cancer and later died of complications from pneumonia.

After Blue Springs’ 3-2 win, he said: “This one is for Coach Sheridan, for my grandmother, who lost her battle with cancer; for our teammate Russell Woods, whose father is fighting a brave battle against cancer. For everyone whose lives has been touched by cancer, this is for them.”

And Thanksgiving is now a holiday for Jackysn, his mother and father, brothers Bradyn and Austyn, sister Brittany and all members of his family.

“We may be the most grateful family ever!” said Jacksyn, grinning from ear to ear.

“It seems so long ago that I was that little kid and wondered if I would live or die. But all I thought about was how I would beat cancer. I beat it! And I will be grateful for that every day of the rest of my life.”

Jacksyn McIntyre’s Journey

• April 26, 2016 – Lumpy neck

• May 20 – Visit your GP

• July 23 – Admission to Children’s Mercy Hospital

• July 27 – Diagnosis: non-Hodgkin’s anaplastic large cell lymphoma; biopsy to remove tumor to determine the extent of cancer

• July 28 – Surgery to place a gate in his chest to administer chemo and determine if cancer had spread to the spine

• July 30 – Pre-chemo treatment

• Aug 6 – First treatment, leading to 48 days in hospital

• September 20 – Doctors say “total remission”

• October 20 – Returns to watch the Sheridan Cup Blue Springs South football game

• December 20 – Released from hospital

• January 19, 2017 – NED (no evidence of illness)

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