This teenager Is Taking On The Last Frontier In Celebration of Taking On and Defeating Cancer
On the day after Christmas 2014, the Adams family gathered around the telephone anxiously anticipating the dreaded call from the doctor. The atmosphere was understandably tense. Bruce and Lynette Adams and their six children were waiting to hear the news. Did their youngest child Jake have cancer? When the call finally came, it was not good: stage three Hodgkins Lymphoma. It is not the kind of news any parent wants to hear and it rendered the Adams family speechless for a good amount of time.
Then, slicing through the mournful, disquieting atmosphere, Jake’s older brother Dan proclaimed, “If Make-a-Wish comes to you, tell them you want to take all of your brothers on a moose hunt to Alaska!”
Jake didn’t go on a moose hunt and he couldn’t take all of his brothers, but Jake and his dad, Bruce Adams, went to Alaska for an ultimate hunting expedition, thanks in large part to a desperately-needed, humorous moment from a loving big brother.
One week following the dreaded call from the doctor, Adams was a regular visitor to Primary Children’s oncology department. He would endure four rounds of chemotherapy and two weeks of radiation treatment to defeat the cancer that was raging in his body. There were lumps on his neck, down his spine and in his abdomen. He would spend countless hours at the hospital being a cancer patient. Jake, who is a soft-spoken 17 year old with wavy light brown Sampson hair, lost it all, including his eyebrows, after the end of his first round of chemotherapy. Although his mom Lynette, who is definitely not a fan of cancer, wasn’t too sad about the hair loss.
Before cancer and treatments and hair loss, Jake was an ordinary high school kid doing the things he loves to do: football, lacrosse, hanging out with friends. Then when he was a sophomore, he started to get sick a lot, whether it was pneumonia, lethargy, or a chronic cough. Adams plays varsity football and lacrosse for Alta High School. During games, he would come off of the field coughing on a regular basis. Jake started as a lineman and was a valuable player for his team. His coach Deven Coggins described him as an undersized offensive linemen.
“But I would put him in against anybody,” Coggins says. “One of the best offensive linemen I have ever coached, not just by his technique, but his heart. I trust him to play against any player.”
As soon as Alta’s head coach Robert Stephens heard the news, all of the linemen and coaches went over to his house immediately. According to Coggins, his offensive line coach, “Jake was in good spirits, not much concern that I got from him. It was just another obstacle that he was going to deal with. As far as heart and strength, when I think of players who have played for me, he is right there at the top of the list.”
Adams had played his entire junior year as a starter, and unknowingly played with cancer. As Coach Coggins wisely observed, “I don’t think too many other players can give me any excuses from this point on, when it comes to playing. I’ll just give them the Jake Adams story and that will end it.” This kid also took his ACT examination while doing Before I proceed with my so-called parting thoughts, I have an assignment for you: set a Â½ cup of butter on the counter and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Just trust me.chemotherapy in the spring and scored a respectable 30 on it. Jake is an Eagle Scout as well, still maintains a 4.0 GPA, and hopes to one day major in molecular biology in college.
The hospital immediately assigned a social worker to the Adams family following the diagnosis. As treatment began, Lynette told the social worker about her son Dan’s funny comment concerning a brothers moose hunt. The social worker was intrigued and connected Lynnette with an application for the Pathfinder Award through Safari Club International, Southern Utah Chapter (SCI). The Pathfinder Award is specifically allocated to a young adult under 18 who is faced with difficult health challenges in their life and continues to be engaged in outdoor activities. The southern Utah chapter specifically chooses a recipient with a life-threatening illness. With the encouragement of her older son Dave, they secretly submitted the application and found out a few months later that Jake had been chosen.
Jake continued to get well from cancer treatment and had no idea he had been selected for this ultimate hunting trip. He had even made a date for Corner Canyon’s junior prom, which happened to be on the very same night as the SCI banquet in St. George. After some wrangling and rearranging to clear his schedule by his mom, Jake Adams and his parents went to St. George for the banquet. The southern Utah chapter has given this award for the past six years and all of the recipients had gone on a hunt to Wyoming. But this year would be different. SCI sent Jake and his father on a dream hunt to Alaska. They hunted caribou and wolves, on the very northern point of Alaska–Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay. All of the prior winners were at the banquet and gathered around him afterwards. “They were very supportive and excited for Jake. It was cool to see all of them,” Lynnette notes with obvious admiration.
Since Jake is a strong young man, he was the perfect candidate for this ultimate hunt. Prudhoe Bay is a tundra wilderness. It is located in the “northernmost reaches of the US road system, and sits on the coast of the Arctic Ocean at the heart of Alaska’s oil patch.” (TravelAlaska.com) They flew in to Anchorage, and then to Deadhorse at Prudhoe Bay, followed by an 8- to 10-mile drive out of town, and a 30-mile airboat ride to their hunting destination. Their hunting guides went in a week before to scout out the caribou herds. Father and son each had tags for two caribou and wolf and also got to fish for Arctic char and Arctic grayling. In other words, this hunting trip was epic.
It seems appropriate that a gentle, high school football standout, who has overcome an extremely harsh and difficult past six months fighting cancer, was then able to overcome a harsh and difficult wilderness environment. Fighting cancer takes stubbornness and a lot of patience and the same can be said about hunting caribou in an inhospitable barren tundra in the uppermost reaches of Alaska. So, it may not have been a moose hunt with all of his brothers, but an ultimate hunting expedition with father and son seems like a poetic victory for this cancer survivor.