Rallying to show support for a friend

Derrick Knutson

Derrick Knutson

Days turn into weeks, weeks into months and months into years before you realize just how long it’s been since you’ve seen people who used to play such an integral role in your life.

During college, I found a group of people who really made me feel at home on campus. We all played on the men’s club volleyball team and hung out together outside of practices and tournaments.

After graduation, I stayed in contact with some of the friends I made on the team for a while, but life, as it often does, seemed to take us all different places, and I hadn’t seen many of them in years.

Kevin, one of my former teammates, ended up in Myrtle Beach, S.C., working for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, a minor-league baseball team affiliated with the Texas Rangers.

Recently, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma. That’s a tough diagnosis for anyone to stomach, but he’s putting up a good fight against the disease, and people who care about him are rallying to show their support.

One of my other former teammates organized a fundraiser draw volleyball tournament a few weeks ago — you show up and are placed on a team — raffle and silent auction to help out with medical and any other expenses.

I attended, along with 83 other people. I’m sure we raised quite a bit of money.

In addition to the good feeling that came with helping out a friend fighting cancer, there were also many other good feelings that came in the form of smiles, handshakes and hugs from people I hadn’t seen in so long.

In way, it felt like everything was the same. We talked about our college days like it was yesterday, but there is much that has happened since that time. Congratulations were shared among those who had just purchased new houses, gotten married, had babies and landed new jobs.

We’re all middle-aged adults now with lives and responsibilities, but for a Saturday afternoon, it was back to the sport that we all spent so much time doing in college.

I felt good, and I played fairly well, too; my team ended up winning the tournament.

I’ve been on the winning team in some tournaments, and usually when that happens you and your teammates get T-shirts, prizes and cash.

This time, it was just the t-shirt, one that was embossed with the phrase, “KevIN, Cancer OUT.”

Hopefully the phrase on that shirt comes true for Kevin. Even though I haven’t seen him in years, and I don’t know if I’ll see him again, I still care about him and all of the people I’ve been friends with in my life.

The battle he’s facing has made me reflect on my own life, and it makes me realize just how fortunate I am.

I know it sounds cliché, but everything can change in an instant, so I’m going to continue to live my life, being as positive as I can be and often as I can be, and not take the truly great things in life, like friends, family and good coworkers, for granted.

up arrow