MOUNT ORAB, Ohio — The Western Brown High School community is keeping sophomore defensive lineman Hunter McKinzie in its thoughts and prayers this week.
McKinzie was diagnosed last week with stage 4 lymphoma and started chemotherapy this past weekend, according to Western Brown football coach Nick Osborne.
Osborne said the lymphoma has moved into McKinzie's stomach, bladder, pelvis, liver and other areas. Still, Osborne said he has no doubt that McKinzie will persevere.
"He's a fighter," Osborne said. "In the weight room and the practice field he fights. There is no doubt in my mind he is going to fight through this."
The school community is supporting McKinzie in numerous ways including with prayers, supportive text messages along with a GoFundMe account and t-shirt sales to help his family with medical expenses.
"The t-shirt sales have been awesome," Osborne said. "We've had some people in Arizona buy and all across the state of Ohio. The amount of support that the community has given the school and Hunter's family is just unbelievable."
Western Brown quarterback Drew Novak said a lot of people at school have texted McKinzie to show their support. He said the entire Broncos team is thinking about their teammate this month.
Players and coaches say McKinzie is a dedicated student-athlete who has never missed a workout and is always accountable. He has played football within the school district since seventh grade.
"He's just always positive," Novak said. "I've never seen him in a bad mood or anything. I've never seen him take plays off or anything. All the coaches never yell at him."
The Western Brown football program is encouraging others to continue to keep McKinzie on their mind and in their prayers this week.
"I think the more positivity that goes around him with this treatment the better," Osborne said.