The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

October 4, 2012

Elkmont’s Bailey beats the odds

(Continued)

Long road back

The teenager survived that night only to find out he would be in for another fight for the next four to six months battling cancer.  His mother and father would spend the next four months at their son’s bedside in a Memphis hospital as Rhett fought lymphoma cancer.

“I had to decide at the beginning whether I was going to get down on myself and wonder why that was happening to me or I could step up and hit cancer harder than it hit me and keep a positive attitude,” he said. “I took the second choice. I decided that I wasn’t going to let cancer beat me. It may make my body weak, but it wasn’t going to keep my spirits down.”

While Bailey’s mother, Missy, said the survival rate for the type of lymphoma Rhett was diagnosed with was “80-90” percent, it required an extremely aggressive type of chemotherapy that was administered seven days a week.  Missy and her husband spent the next four months traveling between Memphis and their Elkmont home,  to take care of Rhett’s seven younger brothers and sisters.

“The hardest part was knowing that the chemo was killing everything about him,” said Missy. “Your child doesn’t look like your child anymore. It’s so scary not knowing the outcome. You try not to, but you think, ‘What about the other 10 percent?’ It’s difficult because you are trying to keep him positive the whole time.”

Doctors originally told the Bailey family they would be lucky to make it home by Thanksgiving. But Rhett had other ideas. In less than four months after beginning chemo, the Baileys were back in their Elkmont home by the end of August.

Sports ‘not an option’

Although his body had fought off cancer in the span of one summer, Bailey was not ready for any strenuous activity. But that wouldn’t keep Rhett away from helping his friends and teammates at Elkmont.

During his sophomore year, Bailey was able to practice with the basketball and baseball teams and dress out during games. And although he was extremely careful to avoid contact, Bailey wore a bulletproof vest to protect his abdomen.

While Bailey sat patiently watching his Elkmont teammates,  he was still told he would not be able to compete the way he once had due to a blood clot that might cause him to bleed out if it were disturbed.

All that changed with Rhett’s latest doctor’s visit of course and the junior is making the most of his opportunities.

“We told him we would start working him in,” said Elkmont head coach Sean Holt, who is also Rhett’s uncle. “You’re looking at someone who started as a ninth-grader, offense and defense. We knew if he ever came back, we would start working him in. It’s not that we were going to get him the ball the first play, but we thought we had an advantage with him against whoever was covering him.”

Removed from football for the past two years, Rhett didn’t miss a beat. He scored the first time he touched the football, drawing a standing ovation from both sides of the crowd that knew his story.

“That was unreal. It was like something out of movie,” said Missy. “It was amazing. I had already cried all the way through warm-ups. Just seeing him doing what he loved before he got sick was special. When he scored, we were all overcome with emotion.”

While he was excited to score a touchdown, Bailey is staying optimistic, happy just to be out on the field with his friends again.

“It will be hard to follow that up,” he said. “I’m just hoping to get out there and do the best I can and encourage the players on our team to not take anything for granted. No matter what the issue is, if you just look to God and have hope you can get through it.”

Although Elkmont went on to lose the game 41-14, Bailey’s touchdown in the second quarter was a victory over something much bigger.

 

Text Only
Local News 2
  • West Limestone’s Siniard picks Southern Miss

    Siniard committed to the Golden Eagles Saturday after visiting the campus in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The 6-foot-4-inch, 290-pound offensive and defensive tackle has started for the varsity since he was a freshman.

    July 30, 2014

  • tractor*pull!2!.jpg TRACTOR PULL: A new generation takes over in Tanner

    One of the first families of the Tanner pull is the Haneys. Horace Haney, along with brother, Shirley, co-founded the event in 1976 that draws thousands to the county each year. The sons of those pulling pioneers now run the show.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clay! Haney!.jpg Clay Haney follows in father’s footsteps

    After watching his dad pull for the past 20 years, Clay finally got his chance. Although he has pulled multiple times over the years, this will be the first year to compete for points in the Mid-South Pullers Association.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • North win streak improves to 12

    The South last won 85-76 in in 2002.

    July 24, 2014

  • Local athletes lead North to soccer sweep

    East Limestone’s Dilan Sayer scored the opening goal and was named MVP of the boys game in a 3-0 win while Jordan Runion scored her team’s opening goal in a 3-1 for the girls.

    July 23, 2014

  • Davidson helps North tie

    She was one of only three North players to record a hit in the opener, which ended 3-3.
    Pitching duties were shared by Lexington’s Jessie Butler, Central-Florence’s Ashley Irons and Hartselle’s Jada Hayes along with eventual North MVP Maddie Moore of Winfield.

    July 23, 2014

  • Tedford, Potts take on the South in All-Star hoops game

    Stace Tedford has had a busy year at Athens. After leading the basketball team to a school-record 24 consecutive wins and regional finals appearance, he jumped straight into soccer season, where he took the varsity girls soccer team to another 5A state championship game.
    Wednesday, Tedford will be on the court again, coaching in the North-South All-Star basketball game.

    July 23, 2014

  • Strong local presence at state All-Star Week

    Some of the top rising seniors from the Athens-Limestone area will play in six of the games, beginning with softball and soccer games Tuesday.

    July 19, 2014

  • Chris Seibert -1996.jpg Before politics, Seibert played for the Tide

    A standout on West Limestone’s football team, Seibert’s road to Tuscaloosa wasn’t an easy one. Determined to play at the highest level, he attempted to join the Tide as a walk-on in fall 1993.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • State softball tournament begins in Athens today

    The three-day, double-elimination event begins at 6 tonight at the Athens Sportsplex.

    July 11, 2014

Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee