CONWAY, Ark. – High school baseball players can face many tough challengers on the diamond, but for one teen in Conway, his greatest opponent was a deadly disease that almost took him off the field.
It was Christmas Eve in 2020 when Brady Robnett was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and marrow. AML in children is rare, with only around 800 children in the United States diagnosed with the disease each year.
Brady’s mother, Rhonda Robnett recalled that her son’s trip to the doctor started for a wholly different reason.
“He had gone to a doctor to start some medication for acne, and I did some blood work at my clinic. It came back with some abnormal cells,” Rhonda said. I was like ‘This can’t be right.’ We repeated it and the abnormal cells had doubled. He was completely healthy, there was not one sign of cancer.”
Brady saw his life crashing down with the diagnosis. A high school athlete, he didn’t know if he’d ever get to play baseball again. One week after being diagnosed, Brady began chemo, attacking it like a hanging curve.
It wasn’t easy. He missed the baseball season, school and family gatherings.
“There was a time where I just had to let the flood gates open and pour out to my mom and dad because you can’t fight this battle on your own,” he explained.
Brady wasn’t alone, though. Family, friends and teammates were there for support. They called it Brady’s Battle. His teammates would come to visit him outside the hospital window once a month to cheer him up.
This spring Brady is back and better than ever. Earlier this season he hit a double in his first at-bat for the Conway Wampuscats, and later in the season, he hit his first career home run. The Arkansas Razorbacks even had him throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a game to raise awareness for childhood cancer.
Brady is in remission, and now he and his family are giving back to those who helped them. They are raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and are also encouraging everyone who can to donate blood and sign up on the National Bone Marrow Registry at BeTheMatch.org.