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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Dylan Nunn celebrates a personal victory

  • “Fight for Dylan” was the theme Tuesday at the Northeast High School basketball game.

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  • “Fight for Dylan” was the theme Tuesday at the Northeast High School basketball game.
    The Northeast girls lost their game, but the boys won — and it looks like Dylan Nunn is a winner as well, in a fight much more important than a basketball game.
    The Northeast senior and honor student found out in July that he had lymphoma. This form of cancer is generally divided into two types; Hodgkin’s lymphoma, named for Thomas Hodgkin, who first described the disease in 1832, and a broad category of non-Hodgkin’s.
    “I have both,” Nunn said. “I guess I’m weird. And it was at stage IV, it was everywhere. The doctor said, ‘We’ll just put you on the most advanced treatment.’”
    Nunn has been receiving chemotherapy at Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, and had his last treatment on New Year’s Eve day. He and his family have received the good news that he is finally cancer free.
    He was able to attend the Tuesday night basketball game, though he wore a surgical mask to shield him from germs and a knit cap that covered his bald head. Hair loss is one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy, and Nunn is also currently without eyebrows or eyelashes.
    “I didn’t lose my eyelashes until my last treatment,” Nunn said.
    His friends and community members who attended the game were just happy to see him.
    “Dylan is a great kid, and very likable,” said Renee Popejoy, who serves as KAY sponsor with Piper Richardson.
    During the break between the girls and boys games, the KAY group presented Nunn and his family with a check for $860 to help with expenses. The funds were raised through sales of “Team Dylan” Norseman shirts in green and purple, which are the colors for Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
    The school is donating the money from game admissions to the family as well.
    “A lot of people have given extra money,” said Pam Sparkes, Northeast para, who was taking admissions at the game. “Some people who had game passes paid anyway. One of the nice things about being a small school is that it’s like a family here. People help each other out.”
    The Northeast KAY group was also running a 50/50 pot and selling drawing tickets at the game. Nunn’s senior class was selling lymphoma bracelets, with half the proceeds going to the family and the remainder going to Children’s Mercy Hospital.
    Nunn is the son of Teresa and Greg Smith. His sister, Jazmin Nunn, is a member of the girls basketball team, which presented him with a signed basketball.
    Nunn said that the outpouring of support made it easier for him to get through his illness.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I had a lot of friends come visit me while I was getting treatment,” he said. “This was one of the worst things you can have when you’re 17. I didn’t get to go to school much, but I’ll be allowed to come back to school next week and that’s exciting.”
    After he graduates from Northeast, Nunn plans to attend the University of Arkansas.
    “I want to become a biomedical engineer and work with medical machines,” he said.
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