Savannah State freshman defensive tackle Kyle Frazier is getting more than one wish granted this fall.
On Monday, October 26, Kyle will be featured, along with his entire team, during the NFL Monday Night Football game between his favorite team the L.A. Rams and the Chicago Bears. It is part of a wish he made.
Kyle’s journey through the last year has been arduous.
In February of 2019, Kyle’s life after high-school was falling into place. The Augusta, Georgia native signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at Savannah State and was a few months from his high-school graduation.
But life was about to toss him a very unexpected curveball.
Kyle stepped out of the shower after a workout in April and felt a lump on his neck. He immediately showed his mother Kenya—a cardiovascular technician at a nearby hospital. She felt the lump and asked if it hurt. He said there wasn’t any pain; her heart dropped.
Kyle thought it was just a bacterial infection and that it would go away. Kenya knew it was more serious.
They immediately setup a doctor’s appointment and biopsies were scheduled. Lying in the hospital bed, the doctor delivered the prognosis. It was as Kenya feared: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Kyle broke down. His first question to the doctor was if he would be able to play football again. The doctor left the room without answering and for the first time, Kyle felt scared.
The doctor returned with a cadre of other doctors and they explained to him that the cancer was treatable and there was a high survival rate. There was a good chance he’d play football again. His optimism returned and he went straight into treatment.
According to the American Cancer Society (PDF), Hodgkin’s Lymphoma typically presents in people in their 20s. There were 8,480 new cases in 2020, the majority of which were males. The five-year survival rate is around 86%, especially if it’s caught early. Treatment consist of several stages, all of which Kyle went through beginning in the middle of May.
They did three surgeries, including two biopsies. One of the surgeries removed a golf-sized lymph node from his neck. Then he began chemotherapy—a pill they call the red devil—for four hours every other Friday.
After chemotherapy, he started radiation for 30 straight days. He missed his high-school graduation. He missed the final days of his high-school experience at Glenn Hills High School. He was forced by the treatment out of physical activities. He lost weight and at times grew depressed.
For four months, Kyle focused on getting healthy and beating the demon in his body. Finally, in August, a PET scan revealed the cancer was in complete remission. On August 23, Kyle rang his cancer free bell. Another PET scan this summer confirmed the remission.
“There was times when I fell into dark places,” Kyle recalled. “You see your friends going off to college. You see guys graduating and going to football practice. I couldn’t continue to go to high-school. I didn’t get to do a senior day and things like that.”