The Lakeshore Cougars semi-pro football team has designated their contest on Saturday at Grand Haven’s Buccaneer Stadium as a cancer benefit game, with all proceeds from the game against the West Michigan Force aiding the family of Muskegon’s Eddie Berry, 26.
Kickoff for the contest is slated for 6 p.m.
Berry was in the process of getting his bachelor’s degree in business management earlier this year when he was diagnosed with Stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma, a very rare form of head and neck cancer. The cancer is typically associated with those who drink and smoke excessively, yet Berry never smoked and rarely drank.
Doctors didn’t have an option to operate on the tumors found behind Berry’s nasal passage because they were too close to his brain. Cancer was also discovered in both lymph nodes in his throat and some cancer at the top of his spine in his neck. Berry began radiation treatments on Feb. 7, which continued every day for seven weeks. He also underwent chemotherapy for six hours every other Thursday for seven weeks.
Family and friends said Berry has remained extremely strong and upbeat during his treatments, despite the fact that he began losing his hair and lost nearly 30 pounds, down to about 140.
His ultimate goal is to get back to a normal routine, finish his education and get back to work.
Through it all, there appears to be a silver lining. Doctors have indicated that Berry has responded well to the treatments, which might have eliminated the cancer from his head, leaving a potential surgery on the cancer in his neck to free him of the disease. He’ll undergo further tests in July to see what happens next.
The Cougars, who have moved back to the Great Lakes Football League following two years in another league, currently stand at 0-1 following last week’s tough 24-20 loss to the Flint Fury. The team has a strong local feel, including Grand Haven residents Aaron Boos and Mike Svoboda – who are both tight ends – as well as wide receiver John Mathews.