No One Fights Alone

No One Fights Alone

By Fancy Robbins and Maddox Weddle

“Make a difference today for someone fighting for their tomorrow.”
-Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly is a former National Football League player. He was the Buffalo Bill’s quarterback for 11 seasons, leading them to four consecutive Super Bowls, and eventually was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 2002.

In 2013, Kelly was diagnosed with a type of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. At the 2018 ESPY Awards, he received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.

David Reade, a physical education teacher at Delta Middle School, listened to Kelly’s heartfelt speech after Kelly was presented with the award and found motivation in one specific quote.

The quote became especially meaningful to him when Reade was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma on Jan. 27, 2023.
At the end of every class period, Reade recites the quote above to his students.

“I just love that quote and that’s what I’m trying to do because I think it shows great empathy,” Reade said.

Through his fight, Reade knows how much the love and support has meant to him. It has made him want to help other people, although he is going through a rough patch of his own.

The eighth-graders from the 2022-23 school year made a poster for him that says “No One Fights Alone.” The poster was signed by almost every student in the class. It still hangs on his office wall to this day.

wall reade
Last year’s 8th-grade class made this poster for Mr. Reade during Smash Cancer. (Photo by Maddox Weddle)

“[The sign] is not coming down ever,” Reade said. “Until I leave … and when I leave it’s coming with me. Because that meant so much.”

Every spring, the girls’ tennis teams at Delta and Yorktown high schools hold a fundraiser called SmashCancer.

The event has now gone on for 12 years. They raise money by selling merchandise to help families affected by cancer. The different clothing items and other accessories can be customized with different colors, each being specific to a type of cancer.
Reade’s cancer is correlated with red.

“Red for Reade” became the motto for his fight, and it has had its mark on the community.

On the day of Smash Cancer 2023, Delta Middle School had a ‘Red for Reade’ day. Many students and teachers wore red clothes, and some students even dyed their hair red to show support for him.

One day at lunch, about 75 of the eighth-grade students lined up and gave Reade a hug.

“The empathy that they’ve shown has just been unbelievable,” Reade said. “The whole school has been unbelievable.”

Going back to school and teaching has been a positive part of Reade’s experience.

choir hug
Delta High School’s choir group hugs Mr. Reade (blue shirt)  after honoring him at an event last spring.(Photo Provided)

During the spring after he found out he was diagnosed he would be out of school for weeks at a time. But, he could not wait to come back.

“Coming here has given me a purpose,” Reade says.

The saying, “No One Fights Alone” has been nothing but true in his battle. The Delaware County community, his friends and family have all been by his side.

But his wife, Kim, has been his rock throughout it all.

“The hardest thing was knowing that this has probably been harder on my wife than it has been on me,” Reade said. “I think as a spouse seeing your person that you love going through something that they can’t fix and there’s really nothing that you personally can do, has got to be hard.”

Kim has kept an optimistic mindset during this time. She’s focused on what’s okay instead of what isn’t, Reade says.
His cancer started as a tumor the size of a tennis ball in his neck. From there, it went into the bone of his spine and into the bronchi, then into his lungs.

Reade had to do 99 hours of chemotherapy in a short span. All but three were at home the other ninety six were at home. At the Cancer Center at Indiana University Health Ball Hospital, they gave him the same amount of chemo in 10 consecutive days that they would give someone in six weeks.

He’s thankful, because he just wants the cancer gone.

seated reade
David Reade at one of his treatment visits at the Cancer Center at Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital. (Photo Provided)

The most challenging days of his journey occurred the weeks after his chemo. He was in pain and got mouth sores. The week of Smash Cancer, he had chemo, radiation and immunotherapy.

He couldn’t eat anything at all, including Jell-O.

“My teeth felt like knives,” Reade said. “That was definitely the biggest struggle that I had.”

Reade recently had a PET scan, and he is waiting for an answer. He also had an MRI that showed good results on his spine. There was a new spot found on his neck, but the doctors believe it could be just inflammation and not a new growth.  An upcoming scan will shed more light on that.

Reade’s battle has helped him become stronger, but it has also put things into perspective for him. He realized that short-term things don’t matter, and he figured out what’s important to him and what’s not.

“I’m gonna keep fighting. I’m gonna beat every challenge. That is the one thing that faith has given me, resilience. You are up for the challenges. So from here I’m gonna continue leaning on my faith, my family and my friends.”
-David Reade

December 15, 2023

About Author

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maddoxweddle Maddox Weddle is a freshman at Delta High School. He enjoys going to football games and hanging out with friends. He plays tennis and runs track.


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