For Jacob, 18 of Wahpeton, a typical warm-up before a basketball game in January of 2018 turned into the fight of a lifetime. After a practice layup, he fell to the ground. A trip to the hospital in Devils Lake revealed that he had broken his femur. From there, he traveled to Grand Forks via ambulance, where an x-ray revealed something more. Jacob was then airlifted to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital in Minneapolis, where he was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma tumor on his left femur bone. Jacob was bedridden and, in an effort to save his leg, it was put in traction for four months. This means that a metal rod was inserted through his lower leg, just below the knee, and 50 pound weights pulled to keep the femur bone straight. Chemotherapy was immediately started. Unfortunately, after those four months, his medical team determined an above knee amputation was necessary, which occurred April 2, 2018.
Jacob only had a few weeks to recuperate from the amputation and then he started another six months of chemo. Subsequent scans revealed several questionable spots in his lungs. All nodules were removed, and two were found to be osteosarcoma tumors.
Today, Jacob has checkups every three months. His doctors continue to watch four small spots in his lungs, but they have remained unchanged, which is encouraging. As Jacob continues to learn to walk with a prosthetic leg, he recognizes his dream of a basketball scholarship is gone, but he is very happy to get the chance to live! A true team player, he still travels with his team and instead of playing, he now enjoys watching.
Jacob graduates this May and plans on attending the North Dakota State School of Science in Wahpeton this fall, ultimately majoring into either marketing or nursing, though he is open to whatever may come. Jacob, your spirit is strong, and you’re a true champion to us all.