WAMEGO, Kan. (KSNT) – High school life is tough enough, with the responsibilities of academics as well as extracurricular activities taking time out of your everyday life.
At the beginning of 2016, Wamego student Jordyn Braun was just like her peers; about to start her junior year and was ready to conquer the second half of their basketball season, however in the course of just a few months, her life took a hard and unexpected turn.
“When people ask me about high school, I break it down,” Braun explains. “Freshman year was freshman year. Sophomore year was okay. Junior year was awful.”
January 26th is the date Braun can remember. Wamego was 32 seconds into their game against Council Grove when Braun got injured while going up for a rebound. She couldn’t walk afterwards and was forced out for the rest of the game.
At first glance, the 16-year old didn’t think it was serious, but when the MRI results came back, she learned that it was worse than she thought.
“I was at home when my dad told me and I just started crying,” Braun said. “That was not at all what I was expecting.”
What she heard then was that she had torn her ACL and partially torn MCL, knocking her out for the rest of the season.
Coming back from an injury like that is hard enough, but little did she know, life would add on to what she already had on her plate, and she found that out just two weeks after she had surgery to repair the knee.
Yet this time, it wasn’t news that directly affected her, but instead her father. What she learned then, was that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer.
“It was a big shock,” said Wayne Braun, Jordyn’s father. “Initially I said, ‘No way, no way is this happening to me.'”
Braun was a captain for the Manhattan Fire department at the time, but now he’s been assigned to more administrative duties.
The initial diagnosis actually came a day before Braun had her procedure done, but it wasn’t until the day of prom when Braun found out.
Hesitant to ruin the night for her friends, Braun kept the news silent, even though it didn’t really set in for her until a bit later.
“My parents sat me down and was like ‘No, it’s not just cancer… it’s Stage 4 Terminal… like it’s bad,” Braun can recall.
When she was able to put the situation into words, she finally told her friends who then supported her and attended her whenever she needed it.
The support that she got was tremendous. A year later, I asked Jordyn how she was able to keep it together. Her instinct made her point towards where the basketball team was placed on the court during practice.
“Those people over there,” Jordyn said.
Her father witnessed first hand how the people she surrounded herself with, helped her get through this.
“Her friends have been real supportive of her,” Wayne Braun said. “They keep her head up, if they see that she’s down on something, they’ll usually support her on it.”
Which, at the worst of times, is the best thing someone can ask for.
“We all try to be there for her and we know she’d be there for us too,” said Tessa Seeberger, Jordyn’s teammate, “It’s just what friends do.”
It’s safe to say, it’s been a long haul for this young lady, but she portrays herself as everything is completely fine.
“I know it’s tough what she’s going through,” said Kevin Kinderknecht, Jordyn’s basketball coach “But you would never know it from day to day in practice.”
However Jordyn knows that her journey is far from over, yet she’s determined to overcome that or anything that comes in her way.
“Cancer sucks,” said Braun “It’s over taking one person in my family but it’s not going to over take my life, I won’t let it.”
Her father continues to receive treatment at a hospital in Texas and he says it is going well.
While Jordyn hopes to attend Washburn University next year, where it’s just a 45-minute drive back home.