Cross country reporter Emily Patton’s point of view on Tuesday’s sports front story about freshman runner Lucas Somers:
I was just like everyone else who noticed their shaved heads. I wanted to know why.
After talking with some of the men’s cross country team, I learned that a freshman, 18 year-old Lucas Somers, had been diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer a few weeks ago.
On one of the guys’ daily trips to the hospital to see Lucas, I tagged along. 10 members of the team piled into his small hospital room. Eight of them were newly bald.
The guys had Lucas laughing and joking as they rubbed each other’s heads while watching The Office. Even when a nurse came in to check his vitals and the reminder of his condition resurfaced, the team immediately came to the conclusion the nurses all had a crush on him.
The idea is to take his mind off of things and get him smiling and laughing again, said freshman Landon Taylor.
After an hour of socializing, senior Patrick Jenkins quieted the team and began to lead a Bible study. The team discussed their faith and what pride means to them, then prayed for Lucas.
Lucas said the team’s shaved heads let him know he won’t be going through this alone.
“You grow to love your teammates like family and would do anything for them,” Jenkins said.
Starting last Saturday, Lucas will have 16 days out of the hospital before he goes back for another round of chemotherapy. He said the chemo treatment takes so much out of him. Each day he is exhausted, but then can only sleep a few hours a night.
He said the doctors have told him to eat six times a day. Though he would eat about nine times a day when he was healthy, he said eating even three times a day is difficult for him now. But if he does not eat, he just gets sick.
“I just have to stay positive, because I know as soon as I get out of here I can start running again,” Lucas said, “I can’t spend my time being scared. I know I’m going to make it through this.”
When I visited Lucas the next day to sit and talk one-on-one, he was still smiling over the team’s visit. He said he was shocked that they would be so supportive through this situation.
“I have known the guys for two months,” Lucas said, “It was like no questions asked. They have been here every day since I have been here.”