ST. CHARLES, Michigan (WJRT) - (08/23/2017) - "He's just a great kid and him being sick has brought the whole community together, we're fighting hard, going to help him get better," exclaimed Varsity Cheer Coach Donna Schantz.
Wednesday night was a special night for the St. Charles J-V football team as they dedicate their season opener to Gage Bryce, a 15-year old classmate waging a courageous battle against cancer.
Bryce was on the field for the coin toss, in the locker room and on the sidelines cheering on his classmates.
This isn't the young man's first go-round with cancer, he's been battling neuroblastoma, a cancer that impacts the nervous system, since he was just 2 and a half years old.
In June pain in his right hip led to the discovery of bone cancer.
So now he's waging another battle.
Wednesday night Gage suited up in a team jersey as the community turned out in a show of support for not just the football game, but for Gage himself.
"Beat Chesaning on three, one-two-three beat Chesaning," Gage Bryce led the J-V team in the breakdown.
When the Bulldogs took the field, they had only one thing on their mind:
"Gage is one of the toughest people I know so we have to bring that into our team show we support him," remarked J-V football player Joey Gonzales.
"This is the thing that's life and not football, we step off that field, there's a lot going on, those are the battles that are far more important," noted head football coach Rick Weisbarth.
But back on the field, Gage Bryce was there for the coin toss,
the breakdown, and the kick return for a touchdown!
"I just know that I have a lot of support and everyone cares about me and I'm just glad I can have that," said Bryce during an interview at the game,"feeling a lot better today because of all this."
That's not a simple statement for a young man who has been through so much in his fifteen years - including aggressive chemotherapy , a bone marrow transplant, and surgery to remove an abdominal tumor.
Now he's tackling bone cancer.
When asked how's he deals with these constant health battles Bryce replied:
"I just pray everyday and like having my friends support my family."
His advice for others going through difficult struggles?
"Just always keep fighting no matter what, you'll push through it."
Bryce certainly knows about pushing through. His mom tells me they are planning on taking him back to Sloan Kettering in New York for another surgery to remove a portion of his pelvic bone and a muscle transplant.
If the high dose chemotherapy works - she says his prognosis is good.
There will be a golf scramble and benefit dinner on Saturday,September 9th to try and offset some of his medical expenses.
The Scramble will take place at the Twin Bridges Golf Course in Merrill,
beginning at 9:00am - four person teams rain or shine.
There will also be a Spaghetti Dinner at St. Charles Wolverine Club beginning at 3pm, also on September 9th.
For more information you can contact Lisa May at (989)860-4020 or Susie Fear at (989)-964-8633.