By Steve Robinson | May 25, 2018 - 10:10 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite

Regular readers of this column may recall a column I wrote a couple of years ago concerning Courtney Dyson, mother of Normal Community West High School softball player Jaxynn Dyson, who as the Wildcats were going through their run at an Illinois High School Association Class 4A championship, was trying to achieve a victory of her own over cancer.

Having her daughter’s games to attend helped Courtney, serving as a necessary distraction from going through treatment. Normal West making it to the Class 4A State Championship game against Oak Park-River Forest made that distraction more enjoyable, it appeared.

Courtney’s cancer was first diagnosed in January 2016, before the season made it to the finals, providing a goal for Jaxynn to help her stay focused and providing a needed respite for Courtney from medical matters.

At that time, Jaxynn was a freshman when Normal West came in second at State Softball, with Courtney present as the Wildcats hugged, cried, and celebrated their second place finish following a 10-inning loss to OP-RF at the end of the season at the Eastside Centre in East Peoria.

Fast forward to the current season, and Courtney, sadly, is still doing battle with Stage 4 Metastatic Triple Negative Breast Cancer. But Jaxynn, the younger of her two children, was on the Wildcats’ girls’ basketball team as well as on the Softball team, providing a double dose of the right kind of distraction from her mother’s medical concerns.

That type of cancer has no cure, Courtney reports, “So I keep going and do what I can do to keep going.” “To keep going” for Courtney means showing up at Jaxynn’s basketball games as she did all last season and again next season, and at Normal West Softball contests for as long as their season plays on.

When Courtney’s cancer was first diagnosed, “she wanted me to have softball as a release,” Jaxynn said. “Her watching me play was kind of a release, so it helped both of us.” Considering the circumstances, Jaxynn added, “The situation seemed kind of normal. We’ve gotten used to it.”

During Jaxynn’s freshman year, Normal West Softball had a “Breast Cancer Awareness” game against Bloomington High and sold T-shirts to raise money. Jaxynn credits her coach, Wildcats head coach April Schermann, with making that event possible. The money that event raised was donated to the Dysons to help pay medical expenses they incurred at that time, Jaxynn explained.

But more than that, Jaxynn said, “Coach Schermann just being there for me” was also a help to a young woman who was in need of such help. “She’s just a great person.”

Jaxynn still has her senior year at West to go through next year, and the release she and her mother get from her being involved in sports will continue once she gets to college, too. That’s because Jaxynn has verbally committed to attend and play Softball for Illinois State University. Jaxynn said once her college studies are done, she’s considering working in the field of criminal justice.

Originally, Jaxynn was considering going into medicine, which would add four years of med school and interning to the schooling she has had up to now. Add to that four years of college before that. As Courtney pointed out with a chuckle, in the end, her daughter did want to do medicine, but she said she changed her mind about that because she didn’t want to do that much school.”

Courtney’s advice to folks facing continual medical challenges is “You have to keep going…You just have to keep going. I’m still going, and just gotta keep going.”

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