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Fighting Fergusons: Coach’s Family Battles Bone Cancer

Coach Gary Ferguson and his wife Amanda pose for a photo with members of the football team and other volunteers after leading a service project with First Methodist Mansfield's special needs department. Amanda received a diagnosis of a rare form of bone cancer in August before school started.

Delayne Fierro

Coach Gary Ferguson and his wife Amanda pose for a photo with members of the football team and other volunteers after leading a service project with First Methodist Mansfield's special needs department. Amanda received a diagnosis of a rare form of bone cancer in August before school started.

As this school year began, Coach Gary Ferguson dealt with more than a new class of freshman and waking up too early to get to school. After a summer full of medical tests and procedures, Coach Ferguson and his wife Amanda found out the verdict: osteosarcoma. Bone cancer.

“You’re always on the outside looking in to everybody else that goes through it,” Coach Ferguson said. “Shock I guess is a good word. You just don’t know what to do.”

In August of this year, they discovered the lump they had earlier attributed to aggravated nerves was actually a cancerous tumor. In response to the news, senior Cooper McCauley, along with the rest of the football team, placed yellow ribbons on their helmets to show support for the struggles of the Ferguson family.

“I feel bad for him and his wife, but I know that if anyone can, his family can get through it,” McCauley said. “If he ever needs anything, he knows he can always come to us. He’s like a second dad to us linemen.”

Staff members have also supported Coach Ferguson and his family. The Key Club plans to hold a coin drive after Thanksgiving break to cover costs such as gas and medical expenses. Ms. Julie Gross, Key Club sponsor, sees this fundraiser as the best way for the club to help Coach Ferguson.

“Key Club has lots of opportunities to raise money or do a service project on anything where we help others,” Ms. Gross said. “When we found out that Coach Ferguson’s wife had cancer, we said ‘why don’t we do something that’s here and that’s with our own family.’”

In order to get her treatment, Coach Ferguson must take Amanda to M.D. Anderson in Houston for two-week sessions of chemotherapy. During these trips, Coach Ferguson must leave his two sons at home. He feels fortunate knowing, though, that his coworkers, family and friends stand ready to help.

“You’re always on the outside looking in to everybody else that goes through it. Shock I guess is a good word. You just don’t know what to do.”

— Coach Ferguson

“I’m getting all kinds of support [from the school], and my wife is the Special Needs Director at our church. She’s been getting support on her end as well,” Ferguson said. “And our family is doing everything they can do. We just appreciate all the positive thoughts and prayers.”

As Director of Special Needs at the First Methodist Church of Mansfield, Amanda plans to host the Night to Shine Special Needs Prom at the church. After hearing this, Ms. Gross decided Key Club should help them too. The prom will occur on Feb. 9, and Ms. Gross says she hopes people from all over the school will step in to volunteer at the dance whether or not they joined Key Club.

“We need volunteers for that if anybody would like to volunteer,” Ms. Gross said. “Any program, any club that would like to help out with that, we would love.”

Coach Ferguson knows his wife and two sons will get through the fight against cancer. Though his sons don’t have a grasp of the entire situation, they remain positive.

“The three-year-old’s oblivious. He just knows we’re not there and that he’s happy to see us. The 9-year-old doesn’t really know because he has no concept, really, of the cancer,” Coach Ferguson said. “He just asked if his mother was gonna be a survivor and we told him ‘yes. There will be good days and bad days but yeah.’”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Fighting Fergusons: Coach’s Family Battles Bone Cancer”

  1. Elaine Tacka on November 30th, 2017 10:19 am

    I met Amanda when she was a teenager at a fund raiser at a bowling alley! I had no idea our paths would crossed again when she became Director of Special Needs, which I’ve been a volunteer for Special Needs VBC, Sunday school, respite and Stepping Stone for over 15 years! She is an amazing and wonderful person with the biggest caring heart of anybody you would ever meet!! We will get her over this horrible disease, because she is a Servant of God and is so loved by Many People! We love you Amanda Ferguson!!

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