FARGO — Every once in a while, the outpouring of support from neighbors and friends when someone is going through crisis can leave us speechless.
Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Roger Maris Cancer Center, the gift of friendship filled the lobby as beloved Moorhead High School senior Scott Verkuilen wrapped up his cancer treatment.
The 17-year-old had been waiting since last summer for the day he could finally bid Hodgkin's lymphoma goodbye. Thursday, with mixed emotions, Verkuilen climbed up for his final radiation treatment.
"(It was) a whole mix of emotions, but it was kind of just the gratification of being done. I am just glad it's kind of over," he said.
But Verkuilen is the first to say that he did not walk this cancer fight alone. For several weeks, his friends on the football, wrestling and weightlifting teams sat with him and his family through the treatment.
What he couldn't say was what would be waiting for him in the lobby at the end of treatment. As the minutes ticked by during radiation, Verkuilen's coaches, teammates, family and friends from Moorhead High School secretly filled the lobby at Roger Maris Cancer Center to surprise him as he came out to ring the bell to signify the end of treatment.
More than 70 players and coaches from Moorhead High rallied together to help mark the milestone. For Verkuilen, it wasn't just the end of treatment, but a new beginning.
"These guys are the best and they are what matters. What they do is what matters," Verkuilen said of his friends through tears of joy.
He means what he says. For his "Make A Wish" gift, Verkuilen requested more equipment for the Moorhead Spuds weightlifting team — a team he helped start.
"The way he went through this . . . he never had the moment of 'why me?' " said Verkuilen's friend Jacob Wesley.
"We take care of our brothers and work together and give them support, but also (show) how strong one individual can be when we all come together around him," said Jack Newcomb, another friend.