Sometimes a completely normal day can change your life. Just ask Keegen. In class at Millenium High School and living his normal 16-year-old life, he noticed an odd lump in his back. It caught his attention when he leaned back in his chair because it was uncomfortable, but not painful. At first, he thought it might just be a knot in a muscle because it didn’t hurt to press on it. At home, Keegen asked his parents to look at it and they also thought it was a knot. The lump was still there two weeks later so his family took him to Urgent Care. The doctor sent him for an ultrasound and an MRI.
Keegen and his family found out on Christmas Eve that it was a tumor located underneath a muscle in his back. They scheduled surgery in January to remove the tumor and get a diagnosis.
The surgery went well, but then the surgeon explained that it was not what he had expected to find and the tumor was deeper than anticipated. Everyone in Keegen’s family stayed optimistic while they waited for the biopsy results.
Nothing prepared them for the news from the oncologist– Keegen’s tumor was malignant. He was diagnosed cancer: an unclassified soft tissue sarcoma. His family was stunned. Keegen began a very aggressive treatment plan, including chemotherapy and radiation for 10 months. Luckily, Keegen has four loving parents and a great support system, which is sustaining them through this journey.
An active member of the FFA Organization (Future Farmers of America) at Millennium, Keegen discovered his passion for agriculture and raising animals. In 2012, he raised a pig named “Skywalker.” After 6 months of hard work, time and dedication, he showed her at the Maricopa County Fair and then sold her at auction.
Friends and extended family are a big reason the family can focus on Keegen and his treatments. They have organized fundraisers to help the family, including a BBQ and bull riding benefit, 50/50 raffles, a garage sale and countless donations.Keegen has passed the halfway point in his treatment and has received at least 8 blood transfusions so far. “Thanks to blood donors, I have the strength to fight this cancer,” Keegen said. “I’m humbled and grateful for their help in this battle.” His family is amazed to watch the miraculous change in him after each transfusion. He literally comes back to life and his energy returns.
Keegen is a senior at Millennium High and plans to study business and agriculture at Kansas State University. He lives with both his families in the West Valley.