Daniel Strong

Freshman from NPHS get diagnosed with rare kidney cancer.

Jewels Zeiler, Feature Editor

Matt Kaminski
The girls and boys basketball team for a “D” in their Daniel Strong t-shirts in honor of Daniel Shea.

 One day freshman Daniel Shea was playing basketball with his team, the next he was in the hospital getting his kidney removed.

   During an away game against Cozad on Jan. 9, Shea came down with a rebound and immediately took an elbow to the side. He played the rest of the game, but then spent the entire bus ride home curled up in pain on a seat, silent. “He was just laying down, not talking. Which was weird, especially after a win,” said freshman Carter Kelley. His teammates just assumed Shea was tired, but when they got home, the 6-foot-5-inch center barely moved from his seat. “We kept asking him if he was all right, and he said he was fine,” Kelley said.

He wasn’t fine. 

As soon as he got off the bus, he fell into the grass and started rolling around, clearly in pain. “I just thought he was hurt from the game, but he was laying on the ground, and I didn’t know what to do,” said freshman Caleb Kinkaid

Kinkaid called his mom and they took Daniel to the emergency room where he was admitted for the night. “The next morning, he texted all of us, and told us that the doctors had diagnosed him with cancer,” said Kelley.

The team was stunned, and some even thought he was kidding. Soon though, they realized it was serious. Kinkaid says his friend is one of the most active kids in his grade. “ It was one of those things, like out of everyone, how is it Daniel?” he said. 

The next day, Children’s Hospital in Omaha doctors removed Shea’s kidney.   He said his kidney had ruptured. 

   Shea was diagnosed with clear cell cancer in his kidney. According to the National Institutes of Health,  the cells in the kidney increase in number and create a lump.

   Shea experienced a range of emotions when he was first diagnosed with the disease. “I was shocked, then mad. I threw everything around in my room,” Shea said. “My mom came in and helped me calm down.” 

Jackson Creel
Sophomores Sydnee Sudbeck, Ryleigh Lampe, and Kaymbree Smith with freshman Daniel Shea at the basketball game on Feb. 7, where fundraiser were put on in honor of Shea.

   Shea hopes for the best with his treatment. ”It sucks not being able to hang out with people and not playing sports, but I kind of got used to it,” Shea said.

   Once a week, Shea completes chemotherapy as his treatment for clear cell kidney cancer. “It’s like getting an IV that pumps medicine into your body,” Shea said

   Shea thinks people treat him differently since his diagnosis. “They are more supportive of me but they are also more watchful of me,” Shea said.

 Kinkaid knows Shea will be able to beat cancer. “It will be a long road but when [he’s]done, it will be worth it.,”  Shea has been surprised with the amount of support he has received., Shea was shocked. “I knew I’d have support from friends and family, but I was shocked to see all the support from other people; it’s amazing,” Shea said.