Sunday, January 25, 2015

K-Mac Strength

In the event you awakened today - as I admittedly do every now and again - feeling less than 100% and are contemplating not putting your best foot forward or - perhaps - are wallowing ever so slightly in a puddle of self-pity, then I have the cure for what ails you. 

His name is Kyle MacIntosh.  Although I have never met him in person, I am more than a little partial to this young man.  In the interest of full disclosure, a percentage of my good feeling about him stems from where he attends college.  Kyle is a Buff, a student-athlete who is a member of the CU Track and Field Team as a sprinter and a hurdler.  A significantly higher percentage of that good feeling, however, stems from who he is.  Kyle is a fighter.  

Cancer fucking stinks.  There is not a goddamned redeeming thing about it - irrespective of the type or the form in which it appears.  It is an invasive and insidious foe.  In a just world, it would not come for anyone.  It most assuredly would not come for twenty-three-year old college kids.  But it does.  And in the case of Kyle MacIntosh, it has. 

Kyle was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma on December 12, 2013.  It was first discovered in his hip and subsequently spread to his brain and to his lungs.  As a young man who spends a lot of time on the track, he has learned to run in only direction - and that direction is most certainly not "Away".  Cancer came hard after him and he, with the love and support of his family and friends, went back after it with a vengeance.  Today, spend the slightly less than four minutes needed to watch him document a day in his fight, which he did one day last summer.  

In the half year or so since he made that video, his condition has gotten perceptibly worse.  On December 26, 2014 he suffered an aneurysm and a stroke.  He had to be re-admitted to the hospital. He remains there still

This is one tough Buff.  Kyle completed work for his undergraduate degree and graduated in May, 2014, participating in the ceremony hours after completing a chemotherapy treatment.  The NCAA had granted him a sixth year of eligibility (secondary to a medical red-shirt), which enabled him to be enrolled at CU for the Spring semester, taking classes and planning on achieving his goal of reaching the finals in the 400-meter hurdles at the Pac-12 Championship.  

In the University of Colorado fight song, those of us who are Buffaloes sing of standing "Shoulder to Shoulder".  Words without deeds are mere gossamer.  That is not how we roll at CU.  Kyle's fellow Buffaloes have married actions to those words.  A web site has been set up to donate money to the MacIntosh family.  100% of the money raised goes to them to help them deal with Kyle's medical expenses.    On Thursday night and last night, as Coach Boyle's hoops team hosted Washington and Washington State directly, Kyle's fellow student-athletes had tables set up at the Coors Events Center at which a $10.00 donation netted the donor a white Colorado Buffaloes K-Mac Strength T-Shirt. 

This old alumni was happy to learn that for those of us who live a couple of days' drive from the Events Center, the very same shirt is for sale through the Athletic Department's web site with 100% of the proceeds going to the payment of Kyle's medical expenses.  This proud, three-decade (to date) member of the CU family - and my Missus - have put our money where my big mouth is above and beyond my t-shirt order.   I know that among those of you who come by this space on a regular basis there are several who are members of Buff Nation as I am. If you are and if you find yourself today in a position to lend an assist to this one, young member of the herd, then please do so - even if the assistance you are presently positioned to offer is measured in good wishes and positive thoughts as opposed to dollars and cents.

The Poet Laureate of Freehold once declared that we take care of our own.  If you bleed Colorado black and gold, then K-Mac is one of our own.   And taking care of him is part of our CU-Boulder DNA.  It is who we are.  It is how we stand.



Iris MacIntosh said...

Adam, Thank you so much for such a wonderful tribute to Kyle. As our nephew and cousin to our children, he was the best. Kyle's spirit strongly remains with us, and we feel such inspiration from the way he lived his life- his attitude and determination were unsurpassed!

Adam Kenny said...

I appreciate your kind words. As a father of two, both of whom are several years older than Kyle was at the time of his death, I have a tremendous amount of empathy for your whole family. He was an extraordinarily brave young man. I have no doubt that all of you were a reservoir of strength upon which he drew.