After redshirting last season, wide receiver Collin Sather thought he would finally be competing for playing time once spring practices rolled around for the University of Idaho football team.
Instead, Sather will be battling cancer.
The Spokane native and 2018 graduate of West Valley High was diagnosed with advanced renal (kidney) cancer and is undergoing dialysis and chemotherapy at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane.
Sather began experiencing stomach pains on Jan. 17, and they got bad enough that he was taken to the hospital on Jan. 21. Once he is stabilized, Sather will be transferred to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for a consultation and further treatment.
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“We are with Collin every day during this fight,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said in a press release from the Idaho athletic department. “He is a great young man and the model of a great teammate. Everyone in our program cares a lot about him, and he will always be a valued member of this team.
“We keep Collin and his family in our thoughts and prayers each day. We are here to help him keep fighting, and we will be here to welcome him back when he wins his battle.”
Sather’s mother, Treena Sather-Head, says visits from his U of I teammates and coaches have helped brighten his stay in the hospital, and he’s been uplifted by hearing from those who have overcome what he is battling.
While Sather has drawn hope and fortitude from his Vandal family, he is quickly becoming an inspiration in his own right to teammates and coaches.
A multi-sport standout in high school, Sather earned first-team All-Great Northern League recognition in football and basketball. He was a high school teammate of fellow Vandal football players Tevin Duke and Connor Whitney.
“The entire athletic department is behind Collin and his family,” Idaho Interim Athletic Director Pete Isakson said in the release. “We know Collin is going to fight this with everything he has, and I encourage our Vandal community to match that with unwavering support for him and his family.”