A Warrior on the UNC Football Team
- Tylee Craft, a junior wide receiver for the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill football team, just shared his recent rare cancer diagnosis. But in his announcement, he made sure to note that he’d be back on the football field as soon as possible.
- A cancer battle, or any struggle for that matter, can lead to a whole host of complex emotions – and it’s okay to allow yourself to feel the negative ones too.
- But trying to stay positive and focus on the ‘controllables’ of your situation can help you live life to the fullest while fighting cancer. And making plans for the future can help you through your battle
Tylee Craft is a junior wide receiver for the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill football team. He joined the team after the Sumter, South Carolina, native was “tabbed as the state’s No. 7 player and the nation’s 60th-ranked wide receiver by ESPN.”
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“To Tar Heel Nation, I’ve recently been struggling with back pain and it made it very difficult to get through the day, much less play football,” he wrote over a picture of him in a UNC uniform. “It got to the point where we wanted to find out if something else was going on. After a visit to the hospital, we found out that I have a rare form of cancer.”
He went on to say that he’ll be taking time off from the sport he loves to tackle his cancer.
“As a result, I’ll be stepping away from football to focus on this battle and we’ve already started chemotherapy, but I plan on getting back to the field as soon as possible,” he wrote. “My family and I are in good spirits and we’re getting all the support we could ever ask for from the football program, the athletics department, and the medical professionals here at UNC. This part of my journey is just beginning and I’m ready to attack it head on. We appreciate all the support and thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.”
He further assured UNC football fans that he’ll be back with his caption.
“Received life changing news on March 14, but I’ve already started my journey and we’re on a round to success,” he wrote. “I’ll be back TarHeel Nation.”
Staying Positive throughout a Cancer Journey
It’s very normal to have negative feelings throughout your cancer journey – and it’s okay to express them too! Anger, shame, fear and anxiety are all to be expected. But doctors will tell you that people who find a way to work through the emotions and stay positive tend to have better outcomes.
“A positive attitude is really important,” Dr. Zuri Murrell, a colorectal surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, previously told SurvivorNet. “I’m pretty good at telling what kind of patients are going to still have this attitude and probably going to live the longest, even with bad, bad disease. And those are patients who, they have gratitude in life.”
In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Mona Robbins, a licensed psychologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, shared that mindset can play a huge role in helping you throughout your cancer journey. She says it’s important to understand that there are some things you can control and some things you just can’t.
“There’s this connection with the mind and the body that if we adjust the way that we think, we can really help our bodies to heal,” Dr. Robbins said. “For areas where you can control, how can you either advocate for yourself, ask more questions, clarify the needs? Or even, then, where areas where you can’t, how can you take things one day at a time? Recognizing some of the good that may be present in the day, as opposed to all of the bad you may think is there.”
And one way to stay positive and focus on the ‘controllables,’ as we’re seeing in the case of Craft, is to make plans for the future.
“Have something to look forward to – either in a couple months, if not at the end of the week – so that that brings up your spirit and your energy so that you feel a little bit more hopeful about what’s happening,” she said.