MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. – After a sudden cancer scare, a young Metro Detroit hockey player is back on the ice.
Braydin Lewis says he played with his team one day, and the next, he was undergoing emergency brain surgery.
One day Lewis, an 18-year-old defenseman for the Mount Clemens Metro Jets, was on the ice playing the sport he loves. Before he knew it, he was having brain surgery for cancer.
Lewis has been playing the game of hockey since he was three years old, so naturally, he’s tough.
He had his malignant brain tumor removed by his doctor in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he lived at the time. But he would travel five days a week from Indiana to Beaumont Royal Oak for a unique additional treatment called Proton Therapy.
“It’s like specific on the spot, and I won’t lose all of my hair, and it’s not getting healthy brain,” Lewis said. Like that’s huge.”
He’d also rely on his teammates like his best friend Alex Schaumburger, who would go with him to his appointments and house him when the commute was too much.
“At the end of the day, like he’s my best friend, and that’s really all it was,” said Schaumburger. “It was just hanging out with him. But with an extra appointment in the morning.”
“I would stay up at his house, and he would take me to treatment every morning,” Lewis said. “He was there for me, and we’d go to practice together and eat together. He’d buy me food. He’s the best.”
Lewis’ coach says the way the Metro Jets rallied around him as they made a big difference in his battle, but it was also that hockey mentality that he has grown up with.
“And so we knew with his characteristics and the way he would, you know, come to the rink and approach this head on that he’d beat this, and we know he’s going to continue to battle, but it’s been very impressive to watch him grow with us,” said Metro Jets hockey coach Justin Quenneville.
While September is a month to bring awareness to children battling cancer, Lewis hopes his story and attitude can influence any other child or adult dealing with the challenging diagnosis of this disease.
“Keep a positive mindset,” Lewis said. “It’ll be a lot easier for you and your family members. If you’re positive and you keep pushing to keep pushing, keep pushing, and when you have that satisfaction of saying, you’re cancer free, it’ll be the best day for you and for everyone around.”
Next up for Lewis is a scan on Sept. 21 to determine if the cancer in his brain is gone. And we’ll certainly be rooting for him both in the hospital and right here on the ice.