It was the first football game of Cade Sullivan’s sophomore season — but possibly the last game his dad will ever see.
Kentucky father Scott Sullivan was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer in August, giving him only a few weeks to live. The 50-year-old man from Somerset had developed leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, in which cancer spreads to the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Even with treatment, the overall life expectancy after diagnosis is just two to four months.
Terminally ill Scott was immediately discharged to the Hospice of Lake Cumberland. There, while under the care of nurse Jerree Humphrey, he shared his dying wish: to see his son play football at least one more time.
The first game of the season at Pulaski County High School would be in Belfry, about three and a half hours away. Scott even considered making the drive there himself.
“I thought, ‘You know, you’re talking seven or eight hours in the car,’ and I said, ‘I don’t know how safe that would be or how realistic,’ ” Humphrey told CNN. The pair had quickly struck a bond, both having kids in sports at rival schools.
Compelled by her compassion, Humphrey contacted a local airport for help. Within days, local dentist and pilot Dr. Denny Brummett volunteered to personally fly Scott to the game, scheduled for September 11.
Humphrey, Brummett, Scott and his girlfriend flew about 200 miles on game day. They situated themselves on a grassy hill overlooking the field, away from the stands where Scott and the others could remain socially distanced. As soon as Cade spotted his father, he ran towards the group and gave his dad a hug.
“You could just not help but cry,” Humphrey said. “He just embraced him so hard and was just so thankful for him to be there.”
Doctors can’t predict what tomorrow holds for Scott, but the devoted dad hopes he might just hang on for yet one more game this weekend.
“Words could not be put into sentences or phrases to describe how I felt at that time,” said an overwhelmed Scott. “I was just so happy to see my son.”
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