CARROLLTON -- It is difficult for Kalen Berry to watch from the sidelines as his football team plays its first game.
The Newman Smith High junior safety has to sit out this year after he was diagnosed with cancer.
“Just watching them, it’s just weird not being out there,” Berry said.
He was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), which is a cancerous tumor that shows up in the body’s soft tissues. The diagnosis came in late July when he went in for a routine physical. He met with a urologist, and later an oncologist, and scheduled surgery for early August.
Doctors were able to remove the tumor, his mother said.
It’s been a ride... A bumpy roller coaster ride,” Sharon Berry said.
Kalen just finished his third session of chemotherapy before coming to Thursday night’s game, but this time as a coach.
“All he wants to do is play football. Chemo is easy. Him not playing football is the hard part for him,” his mother said.
It’s a team already rocked by tragedy. They lost their captain, Jaquis Jones, in a drowning this summer. Teammates wore a pink sweat band that reads “RIP” in his honor.
Kalen will have to undergo 46 weeks of chemotherapy and radiation. He hopes to back for his senior year. His goal is to play college football and, hopefully, in the NFL some day.
His mantra for his recovery is the same for his football game plan: one day at a time, one game at a time.