I am 19 years old, and live in sunny Southern California with my Mom, Dad and brother Hayden. I just graduated from JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano in June 2019. Last year was a repeat year for me as I lost my junior year to the brain tumor surgeries and complications, so instead of graduating in 2018, I graduated in 2019. I grew up like many So Cal kids and played baseball, basketball, flag football and Pop Warner football.
High school has kept me busy and here’s a few things that I have accomplished:
- Jim Valentine Courage Award from Orange County Youth Sports Foundation, May 2019
- CIF Spirit of Sport Award, Southern Section, Fall 2018
- JSerra Rugby Clubman Award, 2018/19 season
- Inaugural Zach Round Courage Award – created by JSerra Football Program, 2018
- JSerra Rugby Spirit Award 2017/18
- Gillian Marie Sabet Memorial Scholarship- 2017/18
- JV Lineman of the Year, 2016
- JSerra Varsity Football – 3 years Varsity Letterman
- JSerra Rugby 2 years Varsity Letterman
- JSerra Freshmen Football 2014
- JSerra Freshmen Baseball 2014
- JSerra Service Club – Live For Others Foundation
- JSerra Social Clubs
- Fellowship of Lion Athletes (FLA)
- Polynesian Club (PolyClub)
- Pictures for Patients
- JSerra Faith Formation – Tuesday Night Youth Group (TNL)
In addition to organized sports, I have a passion for mountain biking. Prior to my tumor and complications, I spent most of my off-time riding with my buddies Iain, Zach, Edward and my brother Hayden in Laguna, Aliso Woods, San Clemente and the Santa Ana Mountains. I also made many trips to Big Bear and rode a ton at the Snow Summit bike park. My ultimate is to get back to the level of riding I had before and go to Whistler to ride.
My immediate plan is to continue on my rehab and get ready to play football at St Norbert College. I have a lot of work to do, but I am focused on being able to play. I am blessed to have played at JSerra High School in the Trinity League which is the most competitive league in the nation. My experience at JSerra and being coached by Pat Harlow has prepared me for the opportunity to continue to play.
As far as mountain biking, I am slowly starting to take rides. I still have to work on my fine motor skills so I can control the bike like I used to, and with the double vision, I need to compensate for not quite having the same depth perception.
In August of 2019, I will head to St Norbert College in De Pere, WI to study Physics, Math and Computer Science. I will also be playing football for the St Norbert Green Knights.
This upcoming December when I am on break from college, I’ll be having facial reconstruction surgery to repair my face and fix my right eye (it doesn’t close all the way). After my last brain surgery the right side of my face was paralyzed and we have come to the conclusion that facial nerve reconstruction is the best option for full face movement. With that, we found the best doctor – Dr. Babak Azizzadeh – to perform this procedure, which is very specialized and extremely costly, and we have to pay at least 20% of the surgery (my insurance company, Anthem will pay 80%). Oh, and this surgery has two-parts so it’s two surgeries – one this December to harvest the nerves, and then on a year from now to connect all the nerves to the muscles.
Please check out my Go Fund Me if you can help at all. All of the money donated will go toward these surgeries and if we happen to have any monies left over, we will use it to pay for my extensive alternative care therapies and on going rehab which insurance doesn’t cover.