ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — At just 18-years-old, Adam Wright has already overcome more than the average teen.
When he was just four years old Adam was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma and after aggressive chemotherapy and radiation he was in remission about 2.5 years later.
After more than a decade cancer free, in December 2020 the Rogers High School senior found out he had cancer again.
This time he was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in his ribs and neck.
“I’m living a different life than a normal person because everyday I wake up, I wake up in a lot of pain, it’s just like go take your medicine again,” Adam said.
Adam underwent surgery in March 2021 to remove a neck bone and several ribs that cancer were found in.
Doctors hadn’t got all his cancer, though, so he underwent two more surgeries.
“Are you kidding me? We just went through all that pain, all of that suffering, learning how to walk again,” Adam said.
Despite all the procedures, Adam’s cancer has continued to aggressively spread.
“If it continues to get bigger, then I would only have a year to a year-and-a-half,” Adam said.
Just a few months before Adam was diagnosed with cancer for a second time, his twin brother Timothy, 17, was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cell cancer.
“I felt like I was in a nightmare. It was a nightmare,” Tammie Wright, the twin’s mother said when she recalled the moment she learned another one of her children had cancer.
According to the Wright family, the twins have a rare gene called P53, also known as li-fraumeni syndrome, which makes it difficult to treat cancer.
Tammie was by Tim’s side throughout his final days.
She said he told her, “I really hope that god helps me get out of here, but I know he knew at the end that he was dying.”
Because the coronavirus pandemic, hospital restrictions prevented Adam from being able to visit Tim often.
Adam said the last time he talked to his twin brother, he only had five minutes with him.
“I told him I loved him and that just keep fighting and I know how bad it is right now and I’m going to pray for you at home and I said that everyone is worried sick about you. Everyone. Then he passed away three days later,” said Adam.
Tim died within three weeks of his cancer diagnosis.
“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life is say goodbye to my twin brother,” Adam continued, “he’s my best friend and he always will be.”
Tammie said, “for Adam to lose something like that, it’s everything. It’s like losing your best, best friend. They were inseparable.”
Because Adam’s second cancer diagnosis came soon after Tim’s death, he didn’t have much time to grieve his twin.
Adam said, “it was kind of a distraction, to be honest, from the focusing on your brother all the time because now you have cancer so now you have to focus on yourself rather than focusing on grieving.”
“The hard part is explaining it to [his] other siblings that they’re going to lose another brother at one point,” Tammie said.
She said Adam’s two other brothers Joshua, 19, and Dakota, 13, now “know not to take anything for granted.”
Since he knows his cancer is terminal, with what time Adam has left he has become an advocate for cancer care.
Adam is currently participating in a drug trial that aims to shrink his cancer and provide pain relief.
“If this trial drug works and it does shrink it, I could get a year-and-a-half to five years. If it is gone I could get 10 years plus,” Adam said.
Adam said he’s hopeful the drug is working, but so far he hasn’t felt any relief.
As he continues his cancer battle, Adam has started vlogging it.
He takes videos of himself before he heads into doctors appointments where he shares details of what he’s expecting to happen.
He also gives a behind-the-scenes look at his treatments.
“I want people to see me fighting this battle, this really really really hard battle, and I want them to see that they can do it too and that they have people supporting them and resources supporting them, too,” Adam said.
He hopes his videos provide comfort to others who’re fighting cancer.
“Whatever I can do… that’s actually going to matter when I’m gone and when everybody else is left on the earth,” Adam continued, “all I want to do is make my brother proud and leave a legacy behind that actually mattered.”
To help support better cancer care for patients, like Adam, KNWA has partnered with The Cancer Challenge to host an all-day telethon.
From at 5 a.m. 11 p.m. on November 9, donations will be accepted online and via call and text.
- CALL 479-273-3172
- TEXT CANCERNWA to 44321
- VISIT cancerchallenge.com
- IN PERSON at 5835 W. Sunset Avenue in Springdale
- SOCIAL on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin
100% of the donations will remain in Northwest Arkansas.