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Kenmore student-athlete battles rare form of cancer

"You never except anyone, even your best friend to have something like that," his best friend said.

TONAWANDA, N.Y. — A Kenmore student-athlete is fighting for his life, months after finding out he has cancer.

Even from a young age, Damien Isch fell in love with sports like hockey, lacrosse, and football, but he's more than that.

"Probably the funniest kid you will ever meet. He loves to eat. He's hilarious," Isch's best friend, Benjamin Scholz said.

With several awards under his belt, Isch was at the top of his game.

"Damion has been on the hockey team since 9th grade. This would've been his third year on the team. This year the coaches named him one of the captains because we felt that he had shown great leadership skills during the first two years with the team," said Isch's varsity hockey coach, Robert Roszak said.

And then, in November, "There was like pains in my side. That sent me in for the first time and then the first time they didn't find anything. They said it was my liver or something and then a couple of months later. I get the same pain again. We got back and they tell me it's cancer," Isch said.

He got a diagnosis no one ever saw coming.

"You never expect anyone, even your best friend to have something like that," Scholz said.

"I had to step out of the room for a second and catch my thoughts because you never would think you heard about the 16, 17-year-old young man who is diagnosed with cancer. Let alone who was playing hockey like a week before," Roszak said.

Isch was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma. This is a rare form of cancer, more common in teenagers, affecting the bones.

"I hope to beat it. Once I am getting out of this, to become stronger as a person. Be a better person like my parents and everyone around me," Isch said.

After learning his results, Scholz's mom, Kristin, created a fundraiser raising nearly $30,000.

"I go and I look on there and I see all his friends, making $100 or $200 donations on GoFundMe was heartwarming, that they went off and did that on their own," Kristin Scholz said.

As Isch prepares for the matchup of his lifetime, he does not feel alone.

"It makes this time better than what it would be, without everyone supporting me and being there for me," Isch said.

To help Damien and his family, you can donate on their GoFundMe page.

There are several fundraisers coming up to support Damien. First, there is a bowling event at Classic Lanes on February 24, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Classic Lanes is located at 1840 Military Road in Kenmore. A meat raffle is also being held with the Knights of Columbus on May 6.

For more information about how to purchase bowling tickets or tickets for the meat raffle, you can call Kristin Scholz at (716) 380-8565

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