2 West Salem students with cancer on homecoming court

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by Pat Dooris

NWCN.com

Posted on September 21, 2012 at 10:23 PM

SALEM - West Salem High was alive with excitement and cheers inside the home coming pep rally.

But outside the cheers, 17-year-old Tyler Prosser endures a daily battle.

“People knew me as the goofy kid,” he said.

But now he's a kid with bone cancer, rolling the hallways in a wheelchair.

“I’m still that same goofy kid, trying to make people laugh,” he said with a smile.

The cancer hit fast. Last winter, Tyler developed a sore knee after he joined the Lacrosse team. It turned out to be osteosarcoma, one cancer. The diagnosis led to surgery and chemotherapy and no more Lacrosse or football.

“Football, it was a bummer missing out on it because just being out there with all the guys and being with them, it’s like a second family,” Tyler said.

His mother still struggles with it all.

“It’s very difficult. It’s very hard. I went through my own treatment last year, and (it was) nothing, nothing compared to what Tyler’s going through. Nothing at all,” Dawn Prosser said wiping away a tear.

Lisa Harder is another West Salem High student in a wheelchair.

She was young and strong until bone cancer invaded her body in the 8th grade. But now at 17, her health is frail. Still, she dreamed of joining the homecoming court.

“I know how important it is to her and I know how badly she wanted to be a princess,” said student body President Emily Henderson.

Henderson launched a campaign to nominate both Lisa and Tyler to the homecoming court.

“She said 'I’m going to be at school' and all of this stuff. And I’m like, 'OK Lisa, did everything I could,'” she said.

Which was good, because Lisa was not at school.

“It’s been a long couple weeks,” said Henderson. Lisa is in hospice, near the end of her life.

Friday morning, Lisa and Tyler gathered their strength to attend the school’s pep rally and were indeed named to the homecoming court.

Their 1,800 classmates roared with approval at the sound of their names.

“It felt great that all the students care for me that much,” Lisa Harder said from her wheelchair.

It was a reminder that she is not forgotten.

“It was so loud. And everyone stood up and was loving her,” said her friend Connor Stonbaugh.

It was a reminder of the power of love.

“I felt, like I was floating,” said Tyler Prosser from his chair.

It was a reminder that there are moments, not even cancer can take away.

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