Edmond Golfer Sam Humphreys says it was a freak accident on the golf course that led to his cancer discovery. The college senior says his 9-iron saved his life.
"I was hitting balls with my dad out on the range at National," Sam said. "Basically, a club was on the ground and I stepped on it."
Since a young age, Sam has always loved golf and he has the hardware to prove he's defeated some tough courses, a case full of state rings. However, Sam and his dad, Sports Animal Radio host Craig Humphreys say they never saw coming the life changing events that unfolded this past summer.
"So, I backed the golf cart up about 10 feet and when I did, I laid the club up against the cart," added Craig Humphreys, Sam's dad. "The club fell off against the golf cart. So as young kids do, he doesn’t bend over to pick up the club. He just steps on the club face and when he did that, the grip end of the club comes up and hits him in a bad spot."
"It actually hit me right in the tumor and it was on the right testicle and it traumatized the tumor and gave me pain," Sam said. "It was definitely like a God thing."
The 23-year-old competitor found himself at the Stephenson Cancer Center with stage two testicular cancer that spread to the lymph nodes. Surgery was the first tough round then three months of grueling chemo. Sam tackled the "course of cancer" like a golf round, one shot at a time, until he had a revelation.
"That you don't have to stop living when you have cancer, it’s just the cancer, you know," he said. "So, I wake up with the ‘why’ of kind of trying to inspire positivity whether people are going through way harder things than me."
A young man clinging deep to his faith, family and the encouragement from others to get him through the storm. From cards, texts, social media, friends and strangers have all shown Sam so much love. However, the one thing he had to surrender in the fight, playing fall golf with his college teammates.
"My teammates too they all wore purple 'Sam Strong' shirts in Chicago and it meant a lot," he said. "Just having their support, I just miss them. My best friend Taylor too. Sounds weird but one of the good things about having cancer, people say things that like you normally don't get to hear and sometimes they wait to say things and they never get to say to somebody. It means a lot."
This is not the end of Sam's story. He is now cancer free and just days ago he returned to play golf for the University of Missouri at Kansas City. His teammates were ready to greet him when he arrived on campus.
Doctors say testicular cancer remains one of the more curable cancers in all medical oncology.