KSON Going Gold for Cody Smith

September 9, 2016

Cody Austin Smith 6/4/96 - 12/18/14

Cody Smith was diagnosed 9/5/12 with Germ Cell Cancer at the age of 16 years old.  We were told that he had a pretty good chance for a full recovery.   He went into those initial treatments knowing that he would prevail.  He missed out on his entire junior year of high school and playing his beloved game of football for the varsity team.  He had been looking forward to playing after he was sidelined mid-way through his sophomore year with a broken elbow (broken while playing for his JV team). 

 The doctors did tell him that even if he had a full recovery from his cancer that he should not expect to be ready to play for his senior year.    After 4 rounds of the initial chemo treatments, major surgery to remove any tumor tissue, 2 more rounds of salvage chemo, then 2 rounds of high dose chemo with stem cell transplant that had him in the hospital for 2 months during early summer before his senior year, he told himself that he would be back on the field for his senior year .   At that time we were told that he had a 50-50 chance of beating the cancer.   After the high dose chemo failed to give us the complete remission that was hoped for,  he then started radiation treatments late in the summer just before football camp..  You see.. he was going to play again, cancer or not! 

By the middle of July he had started working out with his teammates and readied himself for the upcoming season.  He attended football camp/practices even while getting radiation treatments.  Cody knew that he wouldn't be the football player that he once was, but was determined to play out on the field again.   We attended those games just waiting for the coach to put him in....  They didn't have him play the first two games of the season, feeling that he wasn't quite ready.  But, by game three he expected to see some playing time...    And boy did he ever play!!!   It was so awesome to see him out on the field again,  watching him play the game that he started playing when he was 8 years old.   He proved those doctors wrong!!  You see, Cody is not your typical football player... never has been.  He was always one of the smallest kids on the field.... But he was usually the hardest hitting kid out there.  Surprising all his coaches, teammates and opponents with his all out attitude and tenacity to take down his opponents.     That is how he battled cancer as well.   He might not have won the fight , but he showed his teammates, school and the entire community, what you can accomplish when you have the drive, termination and spirit.  

 In the end, the cancer had spread to his brain and he was told that he probably wouldn't survive to make it to his 18th birthday or graduation, which was only 5 weeks away.   He survived 8 months after that.... again... proving the doctors wrong and never giving up... until 2 days before he passed... he finally whispered in my ear and said  "I think I'm going to quit"..   Broke my heart, because that kid never gave up!  He fought hard every step of the way.

Cody's family is so grateful to all the support they received during this time, especially from the Make-a-Wish Foundation. They sent Cody to Florida to meet his favorite football team, the Miami Dolphins, and he even got to throw the ball around with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Six months later Ryan even sent Cody a video message and signed helmet after he won Prom King. 

Carol talked to us this morning to talk about Cody's journey and what his life meant to them. Listen below:

KSON Going Gold for Cody Smith