In an interview with Chisholm Trail High School's head tennis coach, Josh Michael, he reflected on the noble valor of one of his youngest players. "The definition of a hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Freshman Peyton Culwell is my hero." The young Lady Ranger Tennis player was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma on her abdominal wall at the age of 12. She went through numerous surgeries to have the cancerous tumor removed. For the last two years, she and her family thought the cancer was completely gone. However, it was during one of her six-month check ups, when they realized the cancer had returned in the same location as before. Peyton endured chemo and radiation treatments for the next six months in order to shrink the tumor so that it would be operable in hopes of completely removing it.
Peyton had to leave her school, tennis team, and friends in order to be home schooled last year due to her weak immune system. In total, she has been through 9 chemo treatments, 26 radiation treatments, and 3 surgeries. "Having to fight cancer has given me the strength to get through anything in life and on the court," said Peyton. Coach Michael reflected, "throughout her journey, every time I've seen Peyton, she always has a smile on her face."
Peyton is now 14 and has beaten cancer not once but twice! "She got through this because of the support from her friends, an amazing supportive family, faith, and courage. Peyton has now fully resumed her normal life," said Coach Michael. Last week Peyton was able to return to the tennis court where she won her first two competitive school matches since her diagnosis. "Peyton is truly an amazing young lady. The journey that Peyton has had is both inspirational and heroic," Coach Michael praises. "Every day that I see Peyton, whether it's on the court, in the hallway, or at a Friday night football game, I'm reminded about how precious life is and how much of a winner she is. Everyone has a hero, Peyton is mine!"
Peyton Culwell, you make us #EMSproud!