If there is one word Hayes Schmid could describe this past six month, it would be "journey," and that's all it was for the soon-to-be senior.
Six months later during KBCA All-Star weekend, he was honored with the Student-Athlete Courage Award for his bravery fighting cancer.
Schmid plays basketball for McPherson High School. He's been a ballplayer all his life, and getting the chance to play at the Roundhouse was a big deal for him. Early on last season, he saw quality minutes as a role player coming off the bench.
He was one of Kurt Kinnamon's top end shooters for the Bullpups. The future is bright for him.
"I loved traveling and playing with my friends," Schmid said. "All of this helped prepare me for school ball."
What people didn't know at the time was Schmid had to make back-and-forth trips to the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City where he had to go through a CT Scan and Ultrasound around his neck area. He was diagnosed with Stage 2 Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Cancer on Jan. 10. On Jan 30, he went through a five-hour surgery to remove his thyroid and 64 his lymph nodes. Schmid's junior season was cut short.
"I love the sport, and it was tough to not being able to be out there," Schmid said.
Since his surgery, his road to recovery began. Schmid had to take thyroid supplement medications daily until March, where his next challenge was to go through radioactive iodine treatment. Despite battling treatments, surgeries and not being able to play basketball with his teammates, he couldn't stay away from the game. He wanted to remain with the Bullpups and contribute any way that he could.
"The amazing thing to me was despite not feeling well, Hayes was at every practice," Kinnamon said. "Never once was there an ounce of self-pity or complaint. Never once did I see the 'why me' attitude that the majority of people would have had. Hayes was an inspiration to his teammates and the coaching staff."
The city of McPherson was behind the Schmid family the whole way. His teammates sold wristbands that said "Hope for Hayes” and “#BeatCancer” at every home game. There were fundraisers and events dedicated to Schmid. One included "Hope for Hayes" Carwash at the Dacus Auto Body and Collision Repair, organized by Jenny Cheatham and Neil Dykes.
"Through my experience, I was amazed by the amount of support and prayers I received from my family, friends, teammates, community, as well as complete strangers," Schmid said.
Spring came along, and Schmid made it just in time to play for the Bullpup golf team that won the AVCTL Division-III Championship. His journey led to Salina, where he received the Courage Award plaque on Saturday, June 22.
Schmid didn't say much during his speech, but it was no question his actions spoke louder than his words.
Schmid will continue to fight through cancer, but also can resume playing the sport that he loves. He is excited for his senior season next year, hoping to remain impactful of his teammates and coaches. Along the way, he has a new aspect on life.
"My faith has grown, my family has become closer, and my priorities have changed," Schmid said. "One thing that has not changed is my love for basketball. I am looking forward to my senior year and getting back on the basketball court as a Bullpup."
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page