During the ten months Bryson fought cancer, he was challenged to develop certain attributes in order to cope with his treatments, covid protocols, grief over missing most of his junior and senior years of school and football. But most of all the mental, emotional and physical trauma that he was experiencing about his possible mortality. This was not easy for him. The community, school, and many family and friends were a source of immense strength for Bryson and he wanted to make sure it was paid forward. This is why we have created the “15 Strong Program” for youth, as well as two scholarship opportunities.
We strive to raise awareness about childhood cancer. It is NOT rare. About 1 in 285 children will develop cancer before the age of 20. There are more than 12 major types of pediatric cancers and over 100 subtypes. Only 6 treatments have been developed specifically for children in the past 30 years. More than 95% of childhood cancer survivors will have a significant health related issue by the time they are 45 years of age. Worldwide, 100,000 children lose their lives every year to cancer
Bryson McQuivey was diagnosed with Stage IV, Fusion positive, Rhabdomyosarcoma in January of 2020. He was given less than 5% chance of survival. Bryson was immediately put on a course of brutal chemotherapy and radiation at Primary Children’s Hospital. In April of 2020, 9 weeks into treatment, there was no evidence of disease, and we were hopeful. We were told as long as Bryson didn’t relapse, there was a chance, but once he relapsed, it was terminal.
About 3 months after his first clear scans, Bryson began experiencing pain in one of his knees. We thought maybe he had torn a ligament while still attending football practices on the sideline with his team at Maple Mountain High School. We soon learned that Bryson’s cancer had, in fact, relapsed. There were so many difficult days for Bryson since diagnoses but learning that he would not be able to have all the things he dreamed of in this life such as schooling, marriage and a family (at least temporarily), was excruciating.
Like all cancer children, Bryson just wanted to have a normal life and continue on with friends, graduation and his future. During his 10-month fight, Bryson was forced to face his mortality, which meant having to learn where to get answers that we, his parents, could not give him. He developed a personal relationship with his Savior Jesus Christ to find peace and comfort, when there wasn’t a lot to be found. The community, as well as Maple Mountain High School, his beloved football team and so many amazing friends, buoyed him up during this difficult time. He felt so much love from everyone.
In 10 short months, Bryson developed an incredible perspective, as well as traits such as increased kindness, amazing perseverance, mental strength, along with displaying tremendous courage and a positive attitude, despite all of the heartache he was facing. The Brysonstrong Foundation was created with Bryson just before he passed away. Bryson wanted to pay it back somehow to everyone that had shown him so much love and encouragement. We hope to be able to tell his story, and encourage others, especially the youth, to develop those same traits that Bryson learned and displayed through his fight.
Whether fighting a battle everyone can see, or challenges and trials fought in private, it is possible to maintain hope, and show courage, kindness, perseverance, strength and a positive attitude to those around you. #BRYSONSTRONG!
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