Mitchell Meyers remains positive in bout with cancer


Redshirt freshman defensive end Mitchell Meyers tackles OSU running back Desmond Roland during Iowa State’s 58-27 lose to Oklahoma State at Jack Trice Stadium on Oct. 26, 2013. Roland had 219 yards on 26 carries.

Max Dible

In February of 2015, ISU defensive lineman Mitchell Meyers spoke for the first time about a diagnosis that changed his life. Yet more than two months after hearing the news that he was stricken with Hodgekin’s Lymphoma, his resolve remains unaltered.

The redshirt junior from Texas has spent the last two months undergoing five rounds of chemotherapy treatment, with seven treatments left on the horizon before he begins a radiation regimen. But Meyers had nothing but thankfulness in his heart and his words when he met with the media on April 23.

“If I wasn’t diagnosed with this, you kind of take it all for granted,” Meyers said. “But it’s not until you’re challenged with an obstacle like this that you really realize how important everybody is to you, and that going through something like this alone would be a lot tougher.”

It hasn’t only been Meyers’ mother, who travels to Ames from Houston every two weeks to be with him during his treatments, or his good friends on the team who have reached out in support. Meyers said he has received positive messages on Twitter and through the mail from across the country.

Notably, Meyers has been contacted by a number of Iowa fans as well as Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, who have set competitive concerns aside, reaching across the lines of rivalry to extend kindness and well wishes.

He said the most poignant support he receives comes from people who have stared down the barrel of the same, terrifying gun he currently stands facing.

“I had a letter from a Texas Tech fan who lives in Lubbock, and he went through the same thing I did maybe eight years ago, and it was encouraging to hear his story,” Meyers said. “I like hearing other peoples’ stories because it makes you feel like okay, I’m not the only one. I’m not going to feel bad for myself.”

Remaining in Ames for his treatments has also added to Meyers’ resolve and optimism. He explained that the choice to stay in Iowa instead of returning to Texas for his fight against cancer wasn’t really a choice at all.

“The chemo is the same whether I’m here or at M.D. Anderson [in Texas],” Meyers explained. “It’s just a recipe. Anybody can do it, and so obviously I want to stay in school here, I want to be with the team.”

Meyers continues to work out lightly at the team facilities and is trying to keep as normal of a routine as possible. Due to steroids he’s taking to combat the symptoms of the chemo, Meyers said he actually has to watch what he’s eating to make sure he doesn’t gain weight.

All of his actions are aimed at returning not only to health, but also to the football field. Meyers is hoping for sooner rather than later on both counts.

“I’m not sure when [I’ll play again],” Meyers said. “I’m hoping it’d be this season—if not, definitely next season. There’s really no way to tell, but I will play football again.”

Meyers is right to be optimistic. Team physician, Dr. Marc Shulman, said there is a roughly 90 percent rate of recovery from Meyers’ specific type of cancer. He added that Meyers chances should be bolstered by the excellent shape he’s in as well as the support system he has surrounding him.

“Mitchell, as you can see, is doing great—responding well to chemotherapy,” Shulman said. “I spoke with the oncologists this morning and we are anticipating a full and complete recovery, which is not unusual with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and [I] hope to see him back on the football field as soon as his body tells me he’s ready to go.”