JACKS BACK LONDO: Senior rejoins team after beating cancer
BEMIDJI -- No battle the Bemidji High School football team has this season will come close to the one senior lineman Isaac Londo battled this offseason.
BEMIDJI - No battle the Bemidji High School football team has this season will come close to the one senior lineman Isaac Londo battled this offseason.
Londo was diagnosed with testicular cancer during the winter and has since had surgery, went through three rounds of chemotherapy and is now back with the team for his senior season.
“With his situation and the effort he gives every day in practice with intensity is an inspiration,” said senior guard and captain Hank Belfry. “He comes every day ready to take the reps, ready to go full on and ready to get after it.”
Londo is passionate about football and being part of the team, almost to a fault.
“I had a feeling something was wrong in the middle of the season, but I didn’t say anything till after the season,” Londo said. “It’s tough because that’s a pretty sensitive area to talk about, but I finally talked to my mom and we went to get it checked out.”
Just a day after seeing the doctor about what the issue was, he was back setting up his surgery. A few days later, he went through surgery to have the cancer removed.
Football was the farthest thing on his mind; Londo was facing the possibility of chemotherapy and radiation treatments and questioning his outlook on life.
“I couldn’t believe it, I was thought I was too young to get cancer,” he said. “I’ve been a devout Catholic my whole life, I went to Catholic school from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade and at that I moment I thought, ‘You know what, maybe God isn’t that relevant, why would he do this to me’?”
Those negative thoughts didn’t last, and he turned back to his faith for help through his battle, he said.
He went through three treatments of chemo, each lasting three sickening days.
“You can’t even say it makes you sick because it’s worse than that,” Londo said. “They gave me some drugs to make the nausea a little less relevant, but it was still there a lot. Those drugs knocked me out, I was sleeping three-days straight.”
His treatments might have worn him out, but they also might have led him to what he may want to pursue after high school. Londo said he wants to become a pediatric oncologist and work with young cancer patients.
“When I was there, it was terrible seeing all those kids go through what I had to go through,” he said. “I knew I was going to make it, but I can’t imagine what they were feeling. I’ve always wanted to do something to help people, but after seeing those kids, I thought I really want to do something with those kids.”
Londo still helped with kids, however, even when he was going through treatments.
Londo lives with his mother, Jennifer Noble, his step-father and his two younger brothers.
Months before finding out he had cancer, Londo’s grandmother, Noble’s mother, passed away.
“I couldn’t imagine what she was going through losing her mom and then her kid having cancer,” Londo said. “I’ve been there for her as much as she has for me and we’ve been helping each other out. I’d still help watch my little brothers who are 7 and 8.”
Whether it is was talking with other kids going through what he did, helping watch his brothers and being there for his mother when she was down, Londo has been there for everybody.
Now he’s looking to help the Lumberjacks return to the Minnesota State High School League Football Tournament for a sixth time in seven years.
“I’m one of the smallest people on the team,” Londo said. “I want to help my team as much as I can. I’ll go on scout teams, whatever I need to do to make sure we are getting better. Hopefully the young guys see that and I can be a role model.”
Londo’s resilience has not gone unnoticed by head football coach and activities director Troy Hendricks.
Londo was able to fight and beat cancer and numerous other issues in his life during a single offseason; and he did it with a smile on his face.
“All of the nicks and pains of football and the pressures of being a teenager aren’t too bad,” Hendricks said. “Through this whole process, he’d come into our activities office and talked to myself and Sheila (Guest) with a smile on his face. He’s an amazing young man with great will and determination.”