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Mesa Eastmark High School's Kevin Winegar in a fight of his own after championship win

"Our life has come to a standstill, but I'm here for it,” Doorly Winegar, Kevin Winegar’s mother, said. “That's what I'm here for."

MESA, Ariz. — Mesa Eastmark High School linebacker Kevin Winegar is in a fight of his own after the team's first state championship title. 

"Our life has come to a standstill, but I'm here for it,” Doorly Winegar, Kevin Winegar’s mother, said. “That's what I'm here for."

It was a diagnosis that took the entire Winegar family by surprise; acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects white blood cells.

Fresh off Eastmark 3A state title win, Kevin was diagnosed with this specific type of cancer.

"I just thought, 'man, this sucks,' but I can get through this, and I've even been playing football with it,” Kevin said.

In fact, this news came several weeks after the high school football playoffs meaning the linebacker battled through various symptoms on and off the field.

“I had fevers, night sweats, loss of appetite, loss of weight, and just chills often,” Kevin said. “I would be in the classroom just shaking my butt off. As that started to progress, so did the knee and the hip pain and joint pain."

But the diagnosis came on Dec. 13, and the Winegar family had to do their best to process the surprising news.

"This is a kid that knocks out helmets on the field, and now he is battling cancer, and there's just no way,” Doorly said. “it's impossible to believe that it's him."

Although throughout this two-year process of chemotherapy and treatment, Winegar has established a positive mindset and is leaning on his faith to get him through the most trying time of his young life.

"I know God was there with me during that game, and he definitely helped me with my pain, and I was able to play most of the title game and get through this,” Kevin said. “And because of God, I can get through this stage of my life as well."

Winegar has finished his first round of chemo, but there are countless treatments to still come in the future. Throughout this journey, Kevin has received support from close friends, the entire football team, and his family on a consistent basis. Something No. 48 does not and will not ever take for granted.

"I've been with this group for around three and a half years, and it's been one hell of a ride with them,” Kevin said. “And I'd like to keep going on that ride with them."

Winegar tells 12Sport, the treatment will take around two years to complete and, in the meantime, will transition to homeschooling. The sophomore views this as a temporary setback and plans to play football yet again once healthy.

If you would like to donate to Kevin’s GoFundMe page to help assist with his treatments, click here.


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