“I am working out each day, sometimes twice, in order to get stronger and faster for the upcoming season. I will be lifting, running, and swimming to get into the best shape of my life,” said Cody Young, Anderson University senior and Raven baseball team captain. “Opportunities like this only come once in a lifetime, so I want to make sure I give my best effort in my senior campaign.”
Most people would never guess what challenges the star baseball player overcame to get to this point or to even be alive. Young was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 9, and after it came back a second time, Young asked his doctor if he was going to die.
“I wanted to know, so I asked him. He told me that we all die sometime. I was only 10, but I was old enough to know he was actually telling me he thought I was going to die,” said Young. “He was being honest; he didn’t really think I was going to live. My mom told him that he was going to see a miracle."
[PHOTO: At left, Cody Young at the age of 4 shows early baseball aspirations. At right, Young takes the plate as a member of the Anderson University Ravens baseball team.]
A miracle is what happened. Young beat cancer — twice.
When Young was 9, his family took a vacation to Oklahoma. While they were there, Young complained of shoulder pain. “Since I was so active in sports, my family brushed it off as muscle aches,” Young said. “Within the next few days we came to home to Muncie. I was ill with a fever and fatigue, but the doctor assumed it was the flu.”
A few nights later his condition worsened. He had acute pain in his abdomen, “It was like someone was stabbing me with a knife,” he recalled. After staying up with Young all night, his parents took him to Ball Memorial Hospital. A scan revealed a tumor taking over 60 percent of his liver.
After moving Young to Riley Children’s Hospital, doctors removed the tumor and 60 percent of his liver in surgery. Following the surgery, Young had chemotherapy three days in a row every other weekend for three months. After treatment concluded, he had monthly check-ups to make sure he was cancer-free. Two months after finishing treatment, Young got the worst news possible. He had cancer again. This time there were more tumors, they were bigger, and they were inoperable. Medical evidence indicated Young’s life was likely to be cut short by stage four cancer.
[PHOTO: Cody Young as a member of the Delta High School baseball team.]
Young’s parents asked some missionaries who were in town to come pray over him.
“There was this warmth, almost like if you were to take a blanket and put it in the dryer, then right when you take it out wrap it around you. I felt that, but on the inside of my body from my toes to my head, through my fingers this warmth just came over me as they were praying. Looking back on it now after everything that happened, I know it was the Holy Spirit. I know God just put His hand on me and healed me,” Young recalled. “The next time we went into the doctor, the doctor said the tumors died from within. They said that almost never happens. Eventually the tumors got small enough to where [the doctors] could go in and take them out.”
Young's cancer treatment set back his physical maturing nearly two years. Between his freshman year in high school and his junior year in college, however, Young grew about 9 inches and gained 60 pounds, and now stands at 6 feet 3 inches tall. “I have grown three inches and gained about 40 pounds since arriving at AU alone," he said.
Despite his earlier setbacks, Young was never deterred from his baseball aspirations. “I always wanted to be a baseball player and I still do want to play baseball after school,” he said.
Young and other baseball players at AU expect to play in front of scouts this spring. “I feel very blessed for the opportunity to show some scouts what I can do on the baseball field this year. If what I have to offer isn't good enough, that is okay with me; there are plenty of other opportunities out there,” Young said. “I will be able to walk away from the game knowing I gave everything I had. That is something I can be satisfied with hanging my jersey on.”
[PHOTO: Cody Young rounds the bases during an Anderson University baseball game at Victory Field in Indianapolis.]
“This is our Head Coach Don Brandon's (Bama) 38th and final season. The main thing I and the team are focused on this year is making sure we are doing everything we can to give our team the best chance to win Bama a championship and send him out on a white horse, literally,” Young explained. “This is the most talented team I have ever played on, and we feel that if we play to our potential, we can have a lot of success.”
— Elizabeth Vincent is a junior from Greenfield, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in political science. Vincent is an associate with Fifth Street Communications writing on behalf of Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.