Ever since Chase Rhodes was a young boy, he was familiar with tragedy. The current Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College freshman watched as his father accidentally shot himself in the leg during a hunting trip while Chase was in the 7th grade.
A year after that, the young teen took a late, hard hit during the first few minutes of a football game. He went to the hospital and got an X-ray. But what doctors discovered inside his chest was much worse than a few broken ribs. Chase had cancer.
The 8th grader was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“When I was first diagnosed, I was so scared,” he said to WDAM. “I couldn’t move in the bed. I couldn’t physically move. To me, cancer was really bad but it couldn’t happen to me because it was too bad to happen to me.”
Like many people who are diagnosed with a health problem, Chase felt angry and resentful. Why him?
“There were days where you didn’t want to be up and [I’d] say, ‘Why does this happen to me? Why can’t I just be a normal kid?'” Chase told WDAM.
Cancer ruined Chase’s childhood. He was removed from public school and football. He was home schooled until his freshman year in high school.
Eventually, Chase realized how lucky he had been. If he didn’t discover the cancer at that age, he might have died. Chase’s mom wrote the football player who broke his ribs a thank you note.
“God used him to make a huge difference in our lives,” Rhonda Rhodes said to WDAM. “I don’t know what God has planned for him in the future, but he’s already used him for some pretty important stuff. I hope he never forgets that.”
Chase continued to pursue sports. He played on the high school baseball and football team. He was such a good baseball player, he was recruited for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College baseball team.
“He really caught our eye in the state championship game; the last one he played,” MGCCC baseball head coach Rodney Batts said. “We knew he would bring an immediate impact on our team.”
Coach says Chase brings a unique kind of optimism.
“Knowing Chase now, being with him for six months and now knowing what he’s been through, it’s not surprising knowing that he overcame that,” Batts said to WDAM. “It doesn’t surprise me that it was his attitude going into cancer and beating it.”
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