Coach Vezina Returns to the Field While Battling Cancer
Last November we introduced you to Beaverhead County football coach Steve Vezina.
It was just before that time when Coach Viz was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Today, coach is battling through chemotherapy and this weekend he will return to the gridiron to coach in the East-West Shrine Game.
Last fall Dillon offensive coordinator Steve Vezina went in for a routine check-up before he was given some life-changing news.
"The guy came back in and said, "You have a tumor in your colon. I've seen a lot of them, thousands of them. This one doesn't look good to me."
Coach Vezina was diagnosed with prostate and colon cancer that had spread to his liver.
His cancer is terminal, and it's an unknown timetable.
"I'm not afraid to die,” coach said. “It's a part of living. I maybe don't want to go now. Of course, I don't have to now. I'll just see, and fight as hard as I can."
But now, eight months later and after rounds of chemo, coach is back on the football field, preparing for the East-West Shrine Game.
"He's just one of the funnest guys I've ever been around,” said safety Mick Paffhausen. “If practice is kind of rough, that's one thing we try to look forward to is the individual drills with Vez. It's just a lot of fun. He's always really chipper and just brightens your day at practice."
"This year is pretty special to me because I just don't know how many more football games I have left in me. It's really special,” said Vezina. “Who knows? This could be my last one. It may not be. But I'm looking at it like that. I think that's a wise way to go about things."
Treatment, community support, and other things like football have kept coach battling.
And it's helped, as the tumors have shrunk considerably.
"I'm not under any illusion that they're going away,” Coach Vezina said. “They're never going away. The longer we can keep them at bay like that, then the more time I have. The bottom line for me is to spend more quality time with my family and my kids."
On Saturday, coach will get a chance to spend some time with his football family and friends.