Heritage Hall senior Ford Price III has always been about helping people. When he joined teammate Turner Petersen and Bishop McGuinness quarterback Ryan Randolph for a charity dodge ball tournament a couple years ago, the proceeds went to the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in the OU Children’s Physicians building.
Little did Price know he and his family would soon become frequent visitors to the Jimmy Everest Center.
Price woke up one spring day with a fever. This was nothing new. When he was a freshman, he was diagnosed with a hip infection.
When the fever didn’t go away, though, it was revealed he had Ewing’s sarcoma cancer, a rare form that only has 250 cases diagnosed each year. The original diagnosis when he was a freshman was incorrect.
"It took me about a month to get over everything,” Price said. "I reached the point where I realized being negative just wasn’t going to help.”
Price had successful surgery July 25 in Boston. Doctors removed 100 percent of the cancer and cut out his right iliac bone (near the hip).
"It could not have gone any better,” said Price’s father, Ford Price Jr. "The tumor’s position was far enough from the spine and the hip that he was going to be fine.”
The experience was something new for Price III, his family and friends. Price had played football and basketball all his life and was tabbed as a starting linebacker for Heritage Hall this season.
While the surgery was tough, the ensuing week was the worse. Forced to sit in a wheelchair for the first time, Price’s spirit was down. Once he went to crutches, he was back to being himself.
"His spirit and his intensity came back,” Price Jr. said.
And then the inspiration began. Heritage Hall was predicted to be one of the top teams in Class 2A. With Price III fighting cancer, the Chargers’ football team decided to dedicate the season to their teammate.
"He’s my best friend, and we’ve been through so much together. This wasn’t going to change anything,” Petersen said.
The Price family never knew his battle would reach other schools.