The Palm Desert High School Aztecs football team is mourning one of their own, a freshman player lost his battle to rare bone cancer but his resilience continues to impact the lives of many locals.
James Hoyt got his wish of playing football but shortly after joining he injured his leg while playing with friends. The pain persisted and doctors soon found a tumor on his left knee which tested positive to rare cancer called Osteosarcoma.
His father, Henry Hoyt nor the rest of the family had never heard of the disease.
Hoyt said, “It wasn’t anything that my parents had heard of, or we’ve heard of, that was the rarest cancer we’ve ever heard of.”
After James was diagnosed everything began moving very quickly, before they knew it he was deep into a battle with cancer.
“They removed the tumor and replace his leg and his femur and then more Chemotherapy, and then redo the scans,” Hoyt said. “If everything looked good, then he was diagnosed cancer-free, which he was in October, and then it came back in his right hip and his lungs.”
The director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Elber Camacho, said Osteosarcoma cannot be diagnosed and said there are still a lot of question in the medical world surrounding the disease.
Dr. Camacho was not involved in James’ treatments but he said this type of cancer is usually spotted through an injury, which was the case with James.
Dr. Elber said, “This cancer is not caused by trauma, the trauma or the minor injury brings to the attention that the lump was there already.”
In a matter of a year, James went from being diagnosed to going into remission to a new diagnosis and eventually passing away from the disease.
He was a very active kid and a big sports fan, his trainers were like family to him and hey now want to show support to his family through a Bootcamp fundraiser among three desert gyms.
Gabriela Canedo is their family trainer and is in charge of organizing the event.
Canedo said, “15 years old and not complaining, not worrying and doing what he needed to do and just keep fighting cancer.”
Dr. Camacho said the cause of the cancer is still relatively unknown but said research continues and hopes there is a more specific treatment soon.
In the meantime, James and his will to live will never be forgotten as his family stands firm with their community behind them.
“We know James would want us to be strong and just keep on going,” Hoyt said. “He had a saying, ‘Well it’s the way of the road, dad, way of the road, mom,’ so we’re just living life every day.”
The friends of the Hoyt family will host the Bootcamp fundraiser on Saturday, June 29, beginning at 8 AM at the Palm Desert High School football stadium.