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BC student overcomes battle with cancer

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BC student overcomes battle with cancer

Naythan Bryant poses for a picture after talking about his struggles

Naythan Bryant poses for a picture after talking about his struggles

Naythan Bryant

Naythan Bryant poses for a picture after talking about his struggles

Naythan Bryant

Naythan Bryant

Naythan Bryant poses for a picture after talking about his struggles

Naythan Bryant, Reporter

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“Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.” The words came out of the surgeons mouth, and I immediately went into a haze. I remember not being able to process anything in the moment, too shocked and confused to say anything. I heard my mother and father asking questions, but the words were drowned out by my own thoughts. Cancer? How could that be? I was only 16 years old and had been a healthy kid my entire life.

“Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.” This time the words rang and echoed through my ears as the surgeon repeated the diagnoses. I thought to myself, “Cancer. I have cancer.”

The weeks that followed were filled with uncertainty as multiple tests were ran to determine the stage and progression of the cancer. The first big sigh of relief came with the news that we had caught the disease at its earliest stage and that I would be receiving outpatient treatment locally. After developing a treatment plan, my mindset shifted dramatically. My sadness quickly turned to anger, and the word “cancer” was no longer something that scared me. It infuriated me. I knew there was only one thing to do and that was to fight.

The first round of chemotherapy was an eye-opening experience to say the least. Being younger and more athletic than most cancer patients, I handled the medicine well and was able to control the side-effects. However with each round of chemo came more side effects with increasing intensity. It was a difficult process, but one that I knew I would get through with the love and support of my family and friends. I never thought, however, that the love and support would be accompanied by thousands of pictures.

The day that I ran into Kevin Charette at Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center is the day that changed my experience with cancer forever. Charette was my baseball coach in 2010, four years before my diagnoses. It was great to catch up with an old friend and I appreciated him for stopping by to see how I was doing. While we were visiting, we met with another friend of Charette’s, David Marcus, who was also going through treatment for cancer at the time. At the end of the day we decided to take a picture with our thumbs up to show we were making the best of a tough situation.

Later that night, Charette showed the picture he had taken with the three of us to his partner Cody Brutlag, who immediately recognized the potential the picture had in inspiring others battling cancer. It was at that moment that he thought, “What if we collect thumbs-up pictures from around the world and create a campaign called Thumbs-Up Cancer Down?” Charette then posted the picture online and asked others to do the same.

When the first pictures came rolling in from family and friends, my spirit was immediately lifted. I don’t think any of us understood what would come next. A few pictures turned into hundreds and those hundreds soon turned to thousands as pictures came pouring in from all over the world. Congressmen, professional athletes, artists, and more all found time to submit a picture to support someone they had never met. I was overwhelmed with appreciation and gratitude and still am to this day.

Today, Thumbs Up Cancer Down is an official non-profit organization dedicated to offering support to those battling cancer and I could not be more proud of the work they have done. As for me, I am lucky enough to call myself a survivor and have been cancer-free for over two years. Cancer is scary, sure. But I am reminded of a quote by Stuart Scott that always stuck with me during my treatment. “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

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5 Responses to “BC student overcomes battle with cancer”

  1. Sonia on February 7th, 2018 10:00 pm

    Well written! Thank you Nate! Thumbs up cancer down! Keep fighting and inspiring.

  2. Christine on February 9th, 2018 1:48 am

    You are truly an inspiration. Your smile and spirit transcends through your pictures. Wishing you the best!

  3. Robert Komaromi on February 9th, 2018 7:36 am

    Naythan, as you know, I can relate. Most of us have had a loved one or friend that has had some type of brush with cancer. The shock and haze you described as you heard you had cancer is so real. You remain tough throughout the process so others will not worry for you. Pray, Pray, Pray.

    I love what Thumbs Up Cancer Down is doing. If any of you reading this are not friends with David Marcus on Facebook, you need to be following him. That man is amazing.

    Keep up the good work Naythan. I know you make your family proud and we are all behind you.

  4. Rebecca Been on February 9th, 2018 8:24 am

    I love your article Nate! It is so great that you are sharing your story with others.
    You make Bimat proud!

  5. David Marcus on April 19th, 2018 5:45 am

    Thank you Naythan for writing the story 👍👍upcancerdown 👎👎👎 it’s all about showing the positive and inspiration for everybody do this all over town go Centennial high school

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BC student overcomes battle with cancer