Utah State golfer getting a second 'Chanse' after defeating cancer
There are few people it hasn’t affected — a grandparent or relative, mother or father, brother or sister or daughter or son. Cancer has made itself known to nearly everybody in the world, and more times than not the results have been terminal.
But there are success stories, too. Some might even say miracles, of how a loved one defeated cancer. One such story involves a collegiate golfer at Utah State University named Chanse Godderidge, who for an extended period of time wasn’t sure he would ever get a "second Chanse" with golf or life.
In 2005, as a 16-year-old junior in high school, Godderidge was focused on golf and basketball. As the golf season wrapped up and he was preparing for basketball, he knew something was physically off. What he didn’t know was how badly his life was about to be turned upside down.
In early November 2005, Godderidge saw a local doctor and was instructed to go immediately to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City. In less than 24 hours, he and his family received the grim diagnosis.
Godderidge had severe aplastic anemia, a disease that causes bone marrow to slow down its production of blood cells — the red blood cells that carry oxygen, the white blood cells that fight infection and the platelets that help clot blood and control bleeding.
“I didn’t really know what to think,” Godderidge said. “I knew something was wrong just because I’d felt so bad for so long, but I didn’t know what it could be.”
Without quick treatment, severe aplastic anemia can progress and become fatal. The two most common treatments are immunosuppressive therapy and a bone marrow transplant. Luckily, the disease has a much better prognosis today than it has in years past.
From that point on, Godderidge started making regular visits to the infusion center at Primary Children’s and Logan Regional Hospital to receive transfusions of red blood cells and platelets. He was instructed to stay away from crowds and wear a mask to reduce the risk of acquiring serious infections he would not be able to fight because of the lack of white blood cells in his body.
The ideal treatment for a disease such as Godderidge’s is a bone marrow transplant. The best-case scenario for that type of transplant is to take marrow from an immediate family member. They are most likely to be the best matches, which results in a higher chance of success.
Godderidge’s four sisters were all immediately tested to see if they would be an acceptable match. Unfortunately, none of them matched closely enough to be worth the risk of the transplant.
The problem of a lack of donors inspired Godderidge’s family to do something to help other families avoid the same situation. That spring, they joined forces with his coaches, teammates and administrators at Sky View High School to take on the task of organizing a bone marrow drive through the National Marrow Donor Program. The drive proved successful, as they got more than 400 people to register as bone marrow donors.
While he waited for a marrow donor to be found, Godderidge was admitted to Primary Children’s to begin an intense round of immunosuppressive therapy. After nearly six months of treatment, he started to show signs of recovery. His blood counts started coming back up, and he required fewer transfusions.
By June 2006, his blood cell counts were back to normal, and he and his family were encouraged that his severe aplastic anemia was in remission. He went on with life, trying his best to get back to what he knew as normal.
Godderidge went through his senior year as he always hoped it would go. He was back playing on the golf and basketball teams. It was that year that he was given a spot and a scholarship on the USU golf team. He enrolled in school that fall.
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