Cumber playing like a hero this soccer season
GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Every time Alexis Cumber plays a soccer game she should receive a standing ovation.
It's not because the Green Bay Southwest junior is playing like an All-American, it's because she's playing like a hero.
On Aug. 5, 2016, Cumber learned she had brain cancer and most people, let alone a high school kid, would've been devastated by the news. Cancer is the worst six-letter word in the dictionary for what it does to people and families.
But Cumber isn't your normal high school kid. No doubt when she received the news she was shook up. Anybody would be.
But since then she has taken on the cancer without blinking. She has gone through radiation and is currently going through chemotherapy, but it has not stopped her from competing on the soccer pitch.
This season, Cumber has three goals but her just being on the field has been heroic.
"She's one strong cookie, she's fearless," said Michelle Cumber, Alexis' mother. "To do what she does; when people ask, how can you let her play? It's like, how can you not? This is what got her through this."
"I think it has inspired almost every player in our soccer program," coach Tyler Thomas said. "To see somebody fight the way she has fought and to be fearless and to come out on the soccer field when it would be real easy for anybody to crawl in a shell and feel sorry for themselves.
"Instead, she comes out here, wears a headband and just goes. She's fearless on the field, she doesn't play any different this year than how she played last year."
Because of her situation, Thomas plays her only 15 minutes at a time. He came up with this plan after doing some research.
Cumber has had two surgeries on the right side of her head and wears a padded headband for protection. She wasn't going to be denied her junior season of soccer, which drew a reaction from her doctors.
"They thought I was crazy, because they were like, you could get hit in the head," Cumber said. "I was like, well, I'm not going to head the balls."
Cumber fell in her first game of the season after colliding with another player and screamed. It scared her mother and twin sister, Elizabeth, who also plays on the team. Alexis was fine, though.
"During the games it's really scary," Elizabeth said. "There's a chance she could get hit. Every time I'm like, got to watch out, make sure nobody hits her."
Despite facing a life-threatening situation, Cumber is low key in her approach.
"(It's been) crazy," she said. "Between homework, soccer and being sick mostly all the time it kind of sucks, but I get through it."
She has gotten through it and when the end is coming nobody knows. Cumber has more tests in the near future which will detail the size of the mass in her head. Hopefully, the size has diminished.
Cumber talks with a positive attitude, but really wants to return to a normal life.
"That's like the day I'm waiting for," Cumber said.
Up to this point, Cumber has learned a lot about herself.
"I can get through anything if I put my mind to it," she said. "Not sitting around and saying I'm sick all the time. I have to go on with my life."
Hopefully, she gets that chance.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay