Medicine Lodge senior fights cancer, inspires teammates from sideline

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MEDICINE LODGE, Kan. Medicine Lodge High School senior Deven Leis doesn't typically like to be the center of attention. But he's a leader on the Medicine Lodge High School football team, even though he hasn't been able to play the last couple of year.

Last year, Leis received news that changed his life: He has Stage-4 Sarcoma cancer. He says the diagnosis came in August of 2017, right before football season.

"I think he understood the situation. He was going to fight hard to do what he could to get through it and he's done that," Medicine Lodge High School football coach Josh Ybarra says.

Fellow senior football player Dakota Bayliff says Leis' news last year that he wouldn't be able to compete was tragic, "knowing he wouldn't be able to play sports."

"He's always been together with us," Bayliff says.

But the support his teammates have given him has allowed Leis at least return to the sideline, just in a different role.

"I mean, I obviously wish I could play, but I still love to come out and support these guys," Leis says.

He says no matter how many obstacles life throws at him, he just wants to be treated like everyone else.

"I mean, I just didn't want no one to treat me different. That's basically it," Leis says.

Still, his teammates consider him a true fighter who inspires them to be strong.

"He got knocked down and he got right back up," says Medicine Lodge senior football player Garrett Burden. "He's continuing to fight through it all. He's still working hard, even after what happened.

Leis says he wants to keep going and growing.

"Don't get too down about it," he says. "Keep going."