Eastern athletics supports those diagnosed with cancer


Han Byer

Eastern’s softball team poses with the women’s soccer player Morgan Goodman with their maroon ribbons to support Ethan Derzay’s fight with cancer on Sept. 22, 2022, on the Williams Field.

Han Byer, Staff Reporter

Eastern athletics has long since been showing support for those who have been diagnosed with various cancers, but this time it has hit home. 

One of Eastern’s women’s soccer players, Morgan Goodman, has been actively trying to gain support for her hometown friend, Ethan Derzay, who was recently diagnosed with NUT (nuclear protein in testis) carcinoma.  

“NUT carcinoma is a rare type of cancer that can grow anywhere in the body. Usually, it is found in the head, neck, and lungs. NUT carcinoma grows from the squamous cells in the body.” (cancer.gov). The survival rate of NUT carcinoma is about 10 months. 

Ethan, who goes by the nickname “Derz”, is a 19-year-old from Waukesha, Wisconsin. He currently is taking classes at Waukesha Technical college while he battles this disease.  

Him and his family have temporarily moved to Boston, Massachusetts to undergo his treatment, for a trial which he has been accepted to.  

According to updates by his father, Derek Derzay, on the GoFundMe set up for Ethan, he had his first day of treatment on October 21, 2022 and has finished his first cycle of treatment as of Oct. 24, 2022. His second cycle of treatment began on Nov. 9, 2022.  

He also mentioned that a few of Ethan’s family members have come to visit them in Boston and show support. 

Recent updates from the GoFundMe state that Ethan did a second, four-day cycle of treatment, and got to spend time back home in Wisconsin over the Thanksgiving holiday seeing friends and family. As of Nov. 28, Mr. Derzay updated that Ethan will be starting his third treatment cycle and will get to spend over two weeks home for Christmas.  

Morgan said she was on a six-hour bus ride to Morehead State for an away game when she got the news of Ethan’s diagnosis.  

“I immediately broke down,” Goodman said. “My teammates surrounded me, filling me with love, but I just thought right away ‘Why him? Why this person?’ and you always hear that good things happen to bad people, but in this situation it’s so true.” 

Goodman also mentioned that her and Ethan have been friends for almost four years, and that his positive attitude is going to help him get through this.  

“I think something super cool nowadays is that social media is so prevalent, so I’m doing as much as I can from four hours away,” Goodman said, “I think knowing that I can make a difference through that is why I really wanted to show as much support as possible.” 

The Eastern softball team decided to show their support for Ethan by wearing maroon ribbons at a home exhibition match on Oct. 5, 2022.  

A few friends of Goodman on the softball team spoke on why they chose to wear the ribbons and support the cause. 

Jaylen Prichard and Alexa Rehmeier lived across the hall from Goodman in Lincoln Hall last year and there were moments shared that they all would not forget.  

“Through our dark times we always had Morgan,” Prichard said. “And her coming into our room and like explaining everything to us, instantly, we were like ‘okay, we gotta do something to help her because she’s always there for us.’” 

Rehmeier added “We all care about each other, so we were willing to do it in a heartbeat.” 

The girls also said this this hits home for them as well, having experienced similar circumstances themselves. 

“My grandma passed while I was here at school,” Prichard said, “and just knowing that you’re so far away from home and not having anyone, I understand that, so I was trying to help Morgan no matter what.” 

Alexa Rehmeier also had a similar experience. 

Eastern softball player, Jaylen Prichard (3), gets ready to bat with her maroon ribbon at their exhibition match against Olney Community College at Williams Field. (Han Byer)

“I mean, my grandma, she had cancer, so, like, I understand what she’s going through,” Rehmeier said. “Especially when they’re so close.” 

Aside from NUT carcinoma, Eastern athletics and community shows their support for cancer in other ways as well.  

One of Eastern’s student organizations, “Up ‘til Dawn” is a student and faculty club that aims to raise awareness and fundraising for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  

Eastern women’s basketball team is known to wear uniforms with pink on them to support breast cancer.  

Goodman says that there are multiple ways that anyone who wants to can support Ethan. 

The GoFundMe for Ethan can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/derz-fight-nut-carcinoma. 

There is also an Instagram page, “do.it.for.derz” which has other information, links, and support avenues as well.  

Ethan’s loved ones are holding a fundraiser on December 10, in Brookfield, Wisconsin, and the information can be found on the same GoFundMe page.  

“Anything helps, you could still donate $1 and even if you can’t, you can still help by spreading the word,” Goodman said. “This means so much to not only me, but to him, his family, and to everybody who loves him.” 

Han Byer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]