The Rosati-Kain Kougars basketball team is 4-13 so far on this season as we head toward district play at the end of this month. But regardless of how this campaign ends in the record book, the team is learning valuable life lessons off the court and you can tell by the wristbands reading “Bruce Strong” that are in the crowd, and the taped versions on the girl’s wrists during games.
Derek Bruce is the father of R-K junior Raegan Bruce. His family says he’s always been involved in sports, especially when it comes to mentoring girls basketball players. In May 2012, he was diagnosed with stage 2 kidnes disease, taking him “down and entirely different journey in his life,” according to Raegan’s mother, Jennifer Thames-Strong.
“In the past, our teams have supported the needs of other students in various ways. In this case, there is no immediate way to support a kidney failure patient, except to raise awareness and show support. We gathered for team prayer when Raegan had to miss a practice because of a hospital visit. The girls have extended that support by creating the wristbands and showing public support”, according to R-K head coach Shawn Benedict.
The family statement continues:
In the summer of 2014 this disease had progressed very fast to ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) which has taken his ability to walk, stand or have muscle strength. He now uses a wheel chair, walker, gait bell and other devices to help with his mobility, making it impossible to attend games.
Currently Derek is in the process of going to a Rehab facility to regain his strength with the physical therapists, occupational therapist, and skilled nursing.
Although Derek is still on the Kidney Transplant List awaiting patiently on the day that he receives a kidney, maybe one day again he will be at all of those games along with his energy and cheering that he brings with him.
Our family wants to thank Rosati-Kain High School for all of their support. A special thanks goes to the Varsity Basketball team for having bands made that read, “Bruce Strong”. When her dad saw the picture of the girls it was tears of joy. He said that he truly appreciates all of the love and care.
Raegan Bruce was just named to the Villa Duchesne All-Tournament team and had seven steals in a win against McKinley Tuesday night.