Last year, Jacy McAlexander was involved in football, basketball, the all-school play, band and jazz band, large group speech and individual speech, 4-H, FFA, church youth group, Scouts and Rotary Interact. and he was battling cancer.
"Jacy's approach to life has been to meet things head on, and get as much out of life as possible," said Jacy's mom, Kerri McAlexander. "This has helped him get through all of his treatments with an upbeat attitude. He never complained, and he never asked 'why me?' He just found a way to do the things he wanted to do, along with the things he had to do."
Jacy was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma when he was eight years old. At that time, he had surgery to remove the tumor and a small portion of rib. He also had 14 rounds of chemotherapy. After treatment he saw doctors at Blank Children's Hospital often and thought he had beaten cancer, but in March of 2016, Jacy found that he had relapsed. He had two more rounds of chemo followed by surgery at the Mayo Clinic. The doctors there removed a large portion of rib and a small piece of lung. He then had 28 days of radiation at John Stoddard Cancer Center.
"Our favorite example of Jacy's work ethic is when his high school jazz band qualified for the state competition earlier in the year," Kerri said. "The day of the competition was a chemo day for Jacy, but his plan was to try to meet the band when chemo was over. We knew if everything went well that day, he could play in the competition. Midway through the treatment that morning Jacy became very ill. His doctors were sure that he wouldn't be able to do anything that day, much less play the trumpet."
However, Jacy was determined to prove them wrong. After a short nap, he got ready and headed for the band competition. He performed with the band and waited to hear the results. His band qualified for the finals, and he played once again late that evening.
"Our family had a room at the Ronald McDonald House, and both of us were encouraging him to go back there to rest for a bit," Kerri said, "but Jacy just wanted to stay with the band and do everything the other kids were doing, so that's what he did. At 11:00 that night, he was still with the band when it was announced that they were the 2A state champs. His doctors were amazed the next day when they learned that he had the strength to get through the day."
Along with all of his accomplishments and the challenges he has overcome, Jacy has been a big supporter of the Ronald McDonald House since his initial diagnosis. He has collected over 800 pounds of pop tabs for the organization and has spoken to various civic groups to create support and awareness for the Ronald McDonald House.