(WGHP) — Triston Gray is your average 8-year-old child.
He loves his four-wheelers, his frogs, and football.
“I want to be a quarterback ’cause I’m really good at throwing spirals,” he said with a smile.
Nothing was standing in the way of Triston’s QB dreams. That is, until last year, when he started feeling pain in his legs and arms.
“He couldn’t ride a bike anymore, he could hardly walk up steps, he couldn’t sit up in bed,” his mom, Tracy, remembered.
After an MRI, they found four lesions on his spine, legs, and arms. He later found the answers to his pain.
“He had Langerhans cell histiocytosis,” Tracy said. “It’s basically your white blood cells are attacking your body, and it causes the lesions.”
But Triston has always been a fighter.
“Once we found out what was going on, it was very quick,” Tracy recalled. “He had a surgery to have a port put in, and he had done chemo that day.”
Triston’s chemotherapy will last for a year. But while he fights, he’s never stopped living his life.
“He doesn’t complain like, ‘Oh, I’ve got cancer, I can’t be like a normal kid,'” Tracy said. “Yeah, he can’t run like other kids and play like other kids right now, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
For Triston, his light never went out. In the final week of the regular season for Eastern Guilford High School, he got to run the flag out of the tunnel.
“I was holding it up and then somebody came past me throwing it around and going around in circles and throwing the thing around and that encouraged me to go,” he said.
And he even got to be an honorary member of the Elon football team.
“It was really fun,” he said. “It was one of the most funnest times. I was just doing my thing really.”
“When we got the match and Triston got to go meet the team, they with open arms greeted him just like they had known him his whole life,” Tracy said. “He went out there and he just fit right in. He feels like, ‘Hey I’ve got 103 big brothers at Elon now.'”
For Triston, his disorder doesn’t define him. He’s still the frog-loving, daredevil driving, and future quarterback he’s always been.
“He’s such an inspiration and doesn’t even realize it,” his mom said with a smile.
His fight may be far from over — but for him, the best times are just beginning.