High school football player returns to field after battling cancer

The high school senior's Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma is in remission. (WCCO via CNN)
Published: Sep. 17, 2023 at 6:30 AM EDT
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WAYZATA, Minn. (WCCO) - The captain of a Minnesota high school football team has made an incredible comeback after battling cancer.

Wayzata High School senior Jack Simon, a captain for the football team, started Thursday night in the game against Shakopee. He’s back out on the field now that his Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma is in remission.

“It’s awesome just being out there every day, being with the guys, not having to worry about my health. It’s a lot less anxiety than last year,” Simon said.

Wayzata Coach Lambert Brown says he feels lucky to get to coach Simon.

“He could’ve easily said, ‘This is tough’ and ‘Why me?’ and instead put his focus on helping other people and raising awareness,” Brown said.

Now that Simon has overcome his own cancer, he is raising money for cancer research through a collaboration with Honey and Mackie’s, an ice cream shop in Plymouth. They worked with Simon to develop “Captain Jack Crunch,” a brown sugar and butter-based ice cream.

“I had a lot of input. They asked what my favorite types of food were. I said cereal, and then, we decided on Cap’n Crunch,” Simon said.

The new flavor is getting the front row spotlight as flavor of the month, and the Kelly Brown Real Estate Group is donating $1 to Wayzata’s Tackle Cancer fundraiser for every scoop sold.

Suzanne Varecka owns Honey and Mackie’s, and her son is a fellow captain on Simon’s football team.

“He is passionate about his cause, which is cancer and football,” she said about Simon.

So far, more than 1,000 scoops of the Captain Jack flavor have been sold – with the fundraiser continuing through early October.

“Turning this horrible thing into something bigger than myself, it’s been awesome seeing the community rally behind me,” Simon said.