Source: Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School – Sibley, LA
At 13 years old, Jake Chumley earned Lakeside’s junior high student of the year award. His list of accomplishments was as lengthy as it was varied. Just in his first year as a teenager, Jake had already done more and was honored more than most folk do in an entire lifetime. He had an electrifying smile that boy did at 13, and when he took the accompanying photo, arms round a pair of loving parents, you could see a future of brightness for this student of the year.
Two years later, and a few inches taller, Jake is nearing his junior year of high school. He’s still smiling bright and doing great things and earning more honors. You can find him earning A’s in the classroom, running the bases on the diamond, and making a difference in his community away from 9090 Hwy 371 in Sibley.
But now Jake has a fight on his hands like no other he’s had to tackle before. It’s the toughest battle you can have, and one no 15 year old should have to wage. It’s more than a fight though. It’s a war. You see, Jake and his family are leaving for Memphis tonight where the young man will begin treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In layman’s terms – cancer. And a particularly tough one.
Focusing on the difficulty of this war is important for two reasons. One – we want Jake to know he has a community behind him. Check that, Jake has a parish, an area, all of Northwest Louisiana behind him. We know the war he is about to wage and the difficult days, weeks, and months ahead. But all the brighter will be the dawn when Jake chalks up another W in the win column. Nothing is bigger than the victory one achieves when they kick cancer to the curb. Another accomplishment. Another honor. And many more opportunities to see Jake run the bases and rock the tests in school and those of life.
And two – We hope this shocking news, that a 15 year old is in the fight of his young life, will help us all realize something about happiness. Here’s to the hope we can all know what we have before the next trial of life arises. It is our hope we can truly appreciate the joys as we have them. Easier said than done. But imagine being able to focus on the friends you can smile with and not the next negotiation. Imagine being able to focus on playing games or practicing with your kids and not that person who rubbed you the wrong way at work. Imagine being able to enjoy your time together and realize everyone is fighting their own battle. Empathy and compassion. Here’s to not looking back and regretting that only now, in the valley, we really understand that what was is what true happiness felt like.
To Jake, you have our love, our support, our thoughts, our prayers. You are a Warrior now and forever. And when you win this fight, it’ll be because you never hang your head in the face of the monster. Instead you rise. For you are a Lakeside Warrior. You are a Chumley. And you are our brother.
We love you. Then. Now. Always.
Categories: Special Feature