Dwayne Jones ’13has not missed a Relay for Life since the fifth grade, which is all the more remarkable since he wasn’t supposed to make it to fifth grade.
Dwayne will be in the survivor’s lap to kick off LC’s annual Relay for Life at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20 in the Dell (rain location: Wake Field House). The luminary will be at 9 p.m. A total of 36 teams and 450 people have signed up to participate. As of Friday, the LC community had already raised $16,377.
The LC junior was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma in fourth grade after a doctor discovered a golf-ball sized tumor under his arm during an exam for a rash. Dwayne had a lymph node removed from his neck, and when the results came back, he had a less than 10 percent chance of survival.
Despite the prognosis, Dwayne was determined to compete in a soccer tournament that weekend. He ended up scoring both the first and winning goals.
Dwayne and his family lived in Charlottesville and decided to try an aggressive campaign of radiation and chemotherapy at the University of Virginia Medical Center. Doctors were amazed at his response after the first round of chemotherapy, which he underwent for seven weeks on/two weeks off for a year. “I started responding really well to the treatments right when they started,” Dwayne said.
Dwayne has remained cancer free for 11 years, however, he did have one questionable lymph node removed right before he started at LC during an annual checkup.
Dwayne decided to come to LC with his best friend, Adam Taylor ’13, and in hopes of playing soccer, but after he started college, he decided to give up sports.
Initially a computer science major, Dwayne switched to health promotion and he said Dr. Charlotte Guynes, professor of health promotion, got him “hooked on narcotics”- combating them that is. Dwayne now hopes to pursue a career in law enforcement.
In addition to studying or hanging out with his brothers in Phi Delta Theta, Dwayne works weekends at Phase 2 as a bartender and bouncer. “I love bartending,” he said. “The people you talk to are awesome.”
Dwayne said he is impressed by the support LC students give to Relay for Life – last year the campus raised $31,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Dwayne’s message to others diagnosed with cancer is simple: “Don’t give up,” he said.