Maple Mountain junior quarterback Bryson McQuivey was put in some tough positions on the gridiron last fall as his first two varsity starts for the Golden Eagles came against Salem Hills and Bountiful at the end of the 2019 season.
But as challenging as those football moments were, they were inconsequential compared to what he is facing now.
McQuivey was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of sarcoma — a cancer that starts in tissues like bone or muscle — and is now undergoing treatment as he battles this disease.
“You never think about someone his age and being an athlete and healthy having to go through something like this,” Maple Mountain head football coach Brad Burtenshaw said in a phone interview on Monday. “The good thing is he has a lot of support from the school, from the football team and from members of the community. He’s got a lot of support, which is good. We’re just trying to take another day at a time and do best we can.”
Burtenshaw remembered when McQuivey came to school a few weeks ago but realized something was wrong.
“He came into class and just said he felt pressure in his chest and didn’t know why, so he was going to the doctor,” Burtenshaw said. “The doctor wasn’t sure what was going on so they looked and they found a tumor in his lungs that was building up fluid. That was what was causing the pressure. For about a week, we weren’t sure whether it was cancerous or benign. He finally got his results back about a week and a half ago and they said it was a sarcoma cancer.”
The first step was to remove the fluid from McQuivey’s lungs. Burtenshaw said the doctors ended up removing two liters of fluid.
“He started chemotherapy last Wednesday, and they were hoping to send him home like Wednesday night or Thursday but he ended up accumulating more fluid,” Burtenshaw said. “They’ve kept him in the hospital the whole time. He’s supposed to have treatments weekly. They said they didn’t really want to operate because some of the tumors are around his vital organs. They’re just going to try to treat it with chemo and radiation and see how the tumor reacts.”
Burtenshaw said that the extend of McQuivey’s cancer and the prognosis are still unknown, although the current plan is for the Maple Mountain junior to undergo treatment for at least a year and a half.
“I don’t know if anybody really knows what the outcome should be, so everybody has just tried to stay real positive,” Burtenshaw said. “They did a brain scan last week and that came back clean, so that was good news. There was nothing going on there.”
Other parts of his body, however, including his legs and hips might have cancerous tumors.
Burtenshaw described McQuivey as hard-working young man and said the cancer diagnosis hasn’t changed him at all.
“Bryson is a really humble, quiet kid,” Burtenshaw said. He works hard, both on academics and athletics. Through the years he’s played football, basketball and baseball, and then just in the last year or two he just kind of moved over to football as a quarterback. He is a really good teammate with lots of friends on the team. Even now when I talked to him, he just kind of has this quiet strength. He’s positive and and tries to be as strong as he can. He’s fantastic.”
Maple Mountain High School and the Spanish Fork/Mapleton community as a whole has come together to support McQuivey and his family.
“I know I don’t know everything that is being done but I know his teammates from the football team have gone to the hospital to visit him,’ Burtenshaw said. “They are making the wristbands that should be here this week and they’re going to try to sell those. All sorts of people trying to figure out something they can do to support him. There was a big community fast. That first weekend before they went in to do the biopsy his mom invited as many people that were willing to do a fast and participate in that. I think that even spread over into Spanish Fork High School. I just I know one of their administrators knew about it and they were announcing at the seminaries and I know it spread. There’s been a lot of community support for him. I think he feels he feels loved and like there are people who care.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to collect donations to support McQuivey and his family (see info box).