Mr. Kane: Strength of a Titan

Mr. Kane: Strength of a Titan

“You’re never prepared for that. You never really think it’s gonna be you.” On August 28, 2021, Mr. Kane received the earthshaking news that he had stage 4 colorectal cancer. Shortly after, the doctor began going over the treatment plan, who to contact, and what medicines to take at home, but Mr. Kane didn’t hear any of it. He was in a state of shock, unable to fully grasp what he had just been told. Most people in his place would have started to feel sorry for themselves or become angry at God for letting it happen, but Mr. Kane is not your average person. An emotional Mr. Kane recalled his first reaction not being “Why me?”, but rather “I’d rather it be me than my wife, or my children, or my parents because at least I have a little bit of control over it.” This selflessness and positive attitude towards a dreadful situation helped Mr. Kane persevere through what he admits were the worst six months of his entire life.

After meeting with an oncologist, Mr. Kane began radiation in late September to help shrink the malignant tumors. For a full week, he did “double-dose radiation” to attack those tumors before starting chemotherapy the next week. This part of the recovery process carried on through the first week of December when the chemotherapy halted so his body could recover and prepare for two major surgeries in the new year.

Although the physical part of battling cancer is indescribably tormentous, there are many other factors that make cancer even harder to handle. Among these factors is the lost time with family, friends, and students. Once again, however, Mr. Kane was able to take this seemingly detrimental situation in his life and see it in a positive light, highlighting all the good things that have come out of it. He is incredibly thankful for how supportive the administration, social studies department, and students of Blessed Trinity have been, and firmly believes it was part of God’s plan for him to come to BT last summer. As far as family and friends, Mr. Kane feels that “it has truly been humbling” to see everyone rallying around him and constantly checking in on him. In Mr. Kane’s words, “While it’s been the toughest six months of my life, it’s also probably been some of the most rewarding because of relationships that have been rekindled…so that’s why I say it’s really been a blessing.”

Another harrowing aspect of cancer is the mental anguish that it puts you through. Many cancer patients look at the statistics such as the survival rate for their type of cancer and become discouraged, which is reinforced after grueling surgeries that leave the patient feeling thoroughly beat. Equipped with this knowledge of the mental torment, Mr. Kane fought back by “having a positive outlook through this whole process, like, ‘I’m gonna beat this, I’m gonna beat this,’” never worrying himself with the odds being stacked against him. He has also taken advantage of support groups in his hospital, and mentors, and has found someone who understands what he is going through in Mrs. Todd, whom he has emailed back and forth with throughout his battle. Mr. Kane stressed the effect those emails have had on him, “putting a smile on my face, making me feel better, reminding me that I’m not alone in how I feel.” He admits it has by no means been easy to overcome the mental aspect of cancer, but using his resources, he has been able to get through it.
On January 12, 2022, the first of his two surgeries was performed. In this surgery, the doctors removed 40% of Mr. Kane’s liver along with the two malignant tumors inside of it. After months of uncertainty and overwhelming apprehension, Mr. Kane received the first truly good news on his road to recovery. According to Mr. Kane, “The chemo had worked, the smaller tumor in the liver was completely gone, and the larger one was 90% dead. That raised my outlook exponentially.” After just 20 days to recover from the first major surgery, Mr. Kane had another major surgery on February 1, 2022. Although he experienced “a number of setbacks” following this surgery, he also received the best news of his entire recovery process: all of the cancer was dead. As a result of the surgery, he had gone from having stage 4 colorectal cancer with a 15% chance of survival to a less than 2% chance of the cancer coming back. 

One of the most impressive ways that Mr. Kane has handled this whole process is his continued commitment to his job, teaching three Foundations of Government classes for freshmen and two US History classes for juniors, along with his coaching duties as the boy’s varsity soccer head coach. During his chemotherapy in 2021, he would do treatment on Wednesday, wear a pump to school on Thursday and Friday, and after the second block on Friday, drive to the hospital, where the doctors would remove the pump. This inextinguishable resilience and commitment extremely impressed Mr. Turner, BT’s athletic director, who has known Mr. Kane for more than 10 years. Mr. Turner pointed out that because he was coming to work while going through treatments, “You know he didn’t feel good, but he was just a strong person to say, ‘I’m gonna go through this, and I’m gonna beat it.’’’ Mr. Turner went on to emphasize how great of an example Mr. Kane has been for not only the students but also the faculty. Speaking on behalf of the faculty, Mr. Turner asserted, “It brightens our day up to see someone like him come in with the faith and strength that he has.” To Mr. Kane, it’s an easy decision. “You wanna be where goodness and energy are,” explains Mr. Kane about why he continues to come to work. He elaborated that the students and faculty of BT give him life and their positivity uplift him, which he definitely prefers over sitting at home and “feeling like a victim.”

Boys varsity soccer captain and goalkeeper Bradley Winter remembers how the news of Mr. Kane’s diagnosis back in August blindsided him, but he has never doubted that Mr. Kane could beat cancer. Winter admits that the absence of Mr. Kane has led to “miscommunication and other coaches and captains having to step up and fill his role” while he is gone, but on the flip side, “It’s given the team something to play for.” Winter has seen firsthand how Mr. Kane’s commitment to coaching the team while battling cancer has helped unite the team and made them realize that there are more important things than soccer. After a rocky 2-6 start to the season (all non-region games), the boy’s varsity soccer team has made major improvements, went undefeated in their region, and and are on their way to the state semifinals for the second straight year. Last season, the boys lost in the state semifinals, but were led by senior captains Kyle Patterson, Nick Stephens, and Winter, as well as a steadfast coach in Mr. Kane and a committed assistant in Coach Orndorf, who has filled Mr. Kane’s shoes whenever he is absent, Winter believes the boys are going to finally get their championship banner up on the gym’s walls. In his eyes, “If Coach Kane can go out and beat stage 4 cancer, then surely we can go out and win the state championship.”

 A situation like Mr. Kane’s is not one that he could have ever seen coming or ever been prepared for, but he has handled it as well as one possibly can. Leaning into both the foundation of his Catholic faith and the many people cheering him on, he has dauntlessly navigated his way through an undoubtedly arduous time in his life. Through his undying courage and determination to win for all the people that have supported him, Mr. Kane has brought positivity and unity out of a situation that is normally solely associated with negativity, setting an example for all of the BT community to follow.