Tourney set for DHS grad
The Dublin community is invited to hit the court on June 23 to benefit a longtime supporter of his neighbors and the game.
Coach Will Parker said the coaching staff has long considered hosting a 3-on-3 tournament and felt it was the right time to host one when they heard that Rayce Jackson and family were in need of help to offset medical and travel costs.
“Rayce has always been there to help,” Parker said, citing his participation as a referee and supporter of the athletic program. “He’s a great official; he’s really great with the kids and he’s done so much for everybody around.”
Lisa Lowe, fiancee of Rayce’s father, Cliff, reports that the 2018 Dublin High School graduate works full-time and still finds time to referee and help coach 15u baseball.
He also played 3-on-3 basketball games daily until two days before he entered the hospital with a rare form of lymphoma, referred to as primary mediastinal large b-cell.
The cancer presented itself as a 13 centimeter growth on his thyroid.
“We all thought it was a thyroid goiter,” Lowe said.
She reported that Rayce had been losing weight recently and been going into the doctor with infections/coughs that were being attributed to sinus problems.
It wasn’t until he went to see an oral surgeon for the removal of wisdom teeth that the mass was noticed.
“He told [Rayce] to go have a CT scan immediately,” Lowe said.
Rayce also had begun to have breathing problems and exhibit a stronger cough.
Lowe said they went to Surepoint in Stephenville, who recognized the issue.
By 11 p.m. that night, they were in UT Southwest Hospital in Dallas.
Lowe said the prognosis for the rare form of lymphoma is very good with a curable rate of more than 80 percent.
The fact that the active 19-year-old is otherwise very healthy will also work in his favor.
Rayce returned home Monday following his first week of chemotherapy and is in good spirits.
“He’s one of the strongest kids I’ve met in my life,” Lowe said. “He takes it all in stride. He says he’s got a whole life ahead of him and he’s ready to go.”
He is also bolstered by the support of his friends and neighbors. Lowe said that the guys he plays 3-on-3 with made daily trips to Dallas to visit.
“One night I went in and there were 15 of [Rayce’s friends] in the family room,” she said. “They had the chairs facing out the window and were playing I Spy.”
Lowe said Rayce was surprised when he found out about the tournament being held in his honor.
“His exact words were, ‘I’m gonna cry,” Lowe said.
“I will never be able to thank everyone who’s done something for me,” Rayce told Lowe.
The chemo schedule was actually set so that he will be at his strongest on the day of the tournament.
“He wants to coach his team,” she said.
Lowe said he might not be able to stay for the whole event but he wants to go for as long as he can.
The cost to enter the tournament is $15 per person with play happening in two divisions: 14 and under and 15 and up.
Parker said the plan is to start play in Dublin Secondary’s three gyms at 4 p.m. and continue until a winning team is picked.
Teams need to be registered by June 21.
This Sunday night event fits in well with open gym nights that are held every Sunday for 37 weeks, starting with Spring Break.
The June 23 event is also set to include a silent auction and a fish fry and chicken fry with Sysco providing provisions for the fundraiser.
“It’s been really good so far,” Parker said of the planning. “People call and just want to help. That’s been the coolest thing.”
Those wishing to help or sign up for tournament can call Parker at 817-366-0819.
Rayce’s parents Cliff and D’Anna wanted the community to know how overwhelming the support has been and how much they appreciate it.
Those unable to make the event can also make donations to accounts at First National Bank of Dublin and Members Trust in Stephenville.