Four-year old meets SPASH football team before another Leukemia treatment
By John Kemmeter
The third annual Blackout Cancer Game between the Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) and Marshfield High School football teams will raise funds for four-year old Carsyn Guyer of Stevens Point’s battle against Leukemia.
T-Shirts will only be on sale until Wednesday, Aug. 30, for the Blackout Cancer Game, which will be held at Community Stadium at Goerke Field at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15.
A day before he was set to begin his fifth round of treatment, Carsyn visited the SPASH football team after practice Tuesday, Aug. 22, where he got to meet the team and went home with autographs and a mini SPASH football helmet.
“It’s amazing, all of the support that we’ve been getting from the community and this football team,” said Amber Guyer, Carsyn’s mother. “I graduated from SPASH, so to have this and all of the support of these big guys, it’s just great.”
“It was special,” said SPASH football head coach Pete McAdams. “It’s almost unreal to picture someone in your own family at four years old, going through the battle that Carsyn’s going through.
“So it’s humbling, and it puts perspective on things,” he said. “Not only for us as coaches, but I think for everybody in this room tonight, for these young men that are out here busting it in football, it puts a perspective on life.”
The Blackout Cancer Game was started in 2015 by event organizer Amy Helton and McAdams, after Helton’s nephew Tyler Jaworski was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
“My nephew played SPASH football, he had recently graduated from SPASH, and knowing he loved football, I contacted Pete to say, ‘is there anything we can do?’” said Helton. “Pete and I put together Blackout Cancer, and it just so happened that first year there was a Marshfield football coach that was battling a type of bone cancer, so we decided to contact Marshfield to see if we could use that game, and we had an overwhelming response.
“They decided they wanted to jump in, they ended up selling a whole bunch of shirts that same year, and then last year they decided to host it,” she said. “So we’re going to continue it with Marshfield and go back-and-forth every other year.”
Last year’s game was in support of Lindsay Zuelke of Marshfield, a mother of two young children who shortly after the end of the high school football season last December, lost her battle with a rare form of cancer at age 31.
This year, Carsyn was selected after he was diagnosed in February 2017 with ALL, the same form of leukemia Jaworski is still battling.
“The majority of the proceeds will go toward our recipient, and it’s always a good thing when the community can come together and try to help somebody in need,” said McAdams. “Some of the parents of the players on our team are friends with Carsyn’s parents, and there’s a You Caring campaign out there for him, and I had seen that early in the summer.
“So right away, our Gridiron Club nominated Carsyn to be this year’s recipient,” he said.
“It’s just awesome to have us chosen for this,” said Amber. “But we’ve got a long road ahead of us.”
A day before he was set to undergo his fifth round of chemotherapy treatment, Carsyn visited the SPASH football team after practice Tuesday evening, where he got a tour of the weight room by McAdams, who told Carsyn he could come to watch practice whenever he wants.
Carsyn also got to meet with team captains Seth Tosseth, Cole Wright, John Bohanski and Jack Kelly and had them autograph a SPASH football poster.
McAdams then introduced Carsyn in front of the entire team and presented him with a SPASH football hat, as well as a mini SPASH football helmet.
“This (helmet) won’t fit you, but you can put this with you and have it in your room to remind you that these guys are always with you too,” said McAdams. “So every Friday night when these guys are wearing their helmet, you’ll have your helmet with you too, to be a part of our team.
“So here you go buddy,” he said.
“Thank you,” said Carsyn.
Carsyn was more interested in playing with the reporter’s audio recorder than answering questions afterward, but said that he is looking forward to being there for the Blackout Game, and that he wants SPASH to win.
There is also a Facebook page for the event at “Third Annual Blackout Cancer,” where T-Shirts can be ordered and donations will be accepted. T-Shirts can also be purchased through SPASH, P.J. Jacobs Junior High School and Ben Franklin Junior High School football players, or by contacting Helton at 715-570-4860.
The black T-Shirts are $10 each and the black long sleeve T-Shirts are $15 each, while payment must accompany an order form, and checks can be made payable to Blackout Cancer.
“We’re looking for orders to be in by next Wednesday, so they can get printed in time for the game,” said Helton.
The event will also include raffles, while local businesses have also donated to help raise funds for the event, where proceeds will go to Carsyn, as well as Stevens Point and Marshfield cancer research organizations.
“We reached out to businesses in the area, and got a great response,” said Helton. “It ends up being a great turnout and a pretty big benefit to the recipient.”
Helton said that even though Carsyn was quiet when he was at SPASH, he couldn’t stop talking about it afterward, while his favorite part was getting to high-five the players.
“It’s very emotional,” said Helton of watching Carsyn with the team. “With what my nephew went through, I know exactly (what he’s going through).
“But Carsyn’s a tough kid,” she said. “He had to stand up in front of all of those big boys, and he was being such a good guy.”
“It was a wonderful opportunity for our kids to be exposed to this young man and his battle, what he’s going through,” said McAdams. “He’s got the courage already, but if we can bring him any extra bit of happiness, then that’s terrific.
“Carsyn’s doing more for us by being a part of this team now, than we’re doing for him,” he said. “There’s no doubt.”