(WIBW) Topeka, KS--The atmosphere at Hayden is electric on Friday night. But as the Wildcats surge on the field, one spectator wishes more than anything he could be with them. Sophomore Jakob Askins has been sidelined since February when an MRI for a knee injury revealed a tumor in his leg.
"I was kind of shocked," he said. "I was concerned with whether I was going to play sports or not."
School has been put on hold as well. Jakob, 15, visits Kansas medical center every three weeks for chemotherapy targeting the tumor and spots in his lungs. Demanding treatment leaves Jakob exhausted. The process is tough for a mother to watch.
"Sports are his life," his mother Megan Anderson said.
"He loves them. That's everything to him and to think that maybe there's a chance that he won't ever get to play again, that's hard."
Jakob hadn't been on the Hayden field in more than a year. That was until Oct. 25, when some of his teammates had an idea: They had Jakob lead the team out onto the field.
"My coach just wanted to make sure I knew I was still part of the team," Jakob said. "It meant a lot"
"I cried, of course," his mother said. "I got teary-eyed and he also had tears coming down his face. I think that was good for him."
As travel and medical costs grow, so has the support from the community. Hayden high school and many in Jakob’s hometown of Holton have rallied around him. Friends of the family hosted a chili feed for Jakob before Hayden’s playoff game Saturday.
"We don't have to fight this alone. There's a lot of people that support us and that's what keeps us going really."
Anderson’s mantra for her son is to battle.
"You fight this as hard as you would out on that football field," she tells him.
"You'd do anything you had to do to play in that football game. You do anything you have to do to beat this. This is your life."
You can donate to the family at Topeka Employees Credit Union under
Greg Slater/Jakob Askins.