The Kingwood High School girls soccer team is seeking more than just wins on the field this season as they support Head Coach Pres Holcomb in a fight against an advanced-stage cancer.
Holcomb received confirmation of a colon cancer diagnosis in mid-to-late December, but received more bad news after a trip to the emergency room. “A trip that evening to the ER was due to a high temperature and a CT scan,” Holcomb explained. “I was given the news of metastasis to the liver in many areas.”
The American Cancer Society reports that “In the United States, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women, and the second most common cause of cancer deaths when men and women are combined.” The American Cancer Society’s estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States for 2020 are 104,610 new cases of colon cancer.
According to Holcomb, the prescribed treatment is a regiment of chemotherapy which he began Jan. 23. “At this point,” Holcomb said, “chemotherapy is the only prescribed pathway, but it is being done in hopes that I will soon be a candidate for liver resection to remove the tumors completely. It is definitely overwhelming to find out that you have cancer and that it is in such an advanced stage with no big prior issues or warnings.” As of yet, Holcomb said he has been feeling “surprisingly very well” and that side effects have been few.
Soon after receiving and sharing the news of his diagnosis, Holcomb was encouraged by a flood of support from the team, school and community. He said, “The support from everyone has been a huge encouragement. My family and I have been blessed in so many ways so far, and the journey has just begun. My soccer players that I coach are amazing and lift my spirits every time I get to be with them. Their parents are amazing and have helped in many ways also. It's just been humbling and overwhelming in a good way to have so many people want to help us.”
Although the situation is not one that Holcomb would have preferred, he said it has had a positive impact. “My team is amazing, and I have enjoyed our season so far,” Holcomb said. “I have learned through cancer that winning and losing is not as important as the relationships I have with people. It has made coaching much more enjoyable and rewarding to me.
“My school is amazing and has stepped up for me in many ways. I love teaching at Kingwood High School and really cherish the friendships that I have built over the five years I have been there. My family is my rock and I love them so much. God has blessed me in so many ways. I trust in His plan.”
According to Holcomb, his biggest support comes from his wife and children. “My wife, Jenny,” Holcomb said, “is a huge rock in my life and keeps me going every day along with my two sons, Kyle and Carter. They are what I live for and the reason I'll fight cancer until we win!”
Apparel and accessories branded “Hope for Holcomb” were designed as a fundraiser and to show support for Holcomb. Jenny Holcomb shared the inspiration on the website where items can be purchased, saying, “Our family is incredibly thankful and appreciative for all the love and support we have received during this time. When the decision was made to create a Hope for Holcomb shirt, this vision for a design came to Pres' mind. Romans 15:13 speaks to us about joy, peace, trust, power and hope, which we all know are abundantly overflowing from our amazing Father.” Items available include T-shirts, wristbands and totes. To support Holcomb’s fight against cancer, visit hopeforholcomb.com.