Purple Community Blog

14 Sep 2017

Playing for the Champ

On Saturday, dozens of Hope College football players will be taking the field in purple jerseys marked with the name of someone who has been affected by cancer on the back. Brandan Campbell, the son of Bryon Campbell — Van Andel Institute’s chief information officer — will be one these players.

During Otsego High School’s 2012 Purple Week, Brandan wore his first purple jersey in honor of his grandfather who is a colon cancer survivor. Now at Hope College, he will be gearing up in his second purple jersey, but with a different name on the back.

On Sept. 4, 2014, Brandan’s second cousin Hayden Qualls was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at only nine years old. Hayden and his family pursued intensive chemotherapy induction to treat the cancer. After numerous complications that sprouted from infection and enduring the heavy treatment, Hayden was declared to be in full remission in Jan. 2015.

Being a WWE fanatic and given his strength of a true fighter, he rightfully gained the nickname “The Champ.” Sadly though, at a routine doctor appointment in February 2017 Hayden’s family received unfortunate news — only two years into his remission, his leukemia had relapsed.

“Cancer decided it wanted a rematch against The Champ. Being the fighter that he is, Hayden decided he was not going to allow the cancer to take him down like it did before,” said Bryon Campbell.

Cancer decided it wanted a rematch against The Champ. Being the fighter that he is, Hayden decided he was not going to allow the cancer to take him down like it did before.

On Feb. 13, 2017, “The Road to Maintenance” began for Hayden with friends and family in his corner. A 2-year plan is set in place to knock out his cancer hopefully, for the final time. This Saturday, Brandan will proudly be sporting “Champ” on his #38 purple jersey during Hope College’s Purple football game.

Join us at Smith Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 1:30 PM as Hope College hosts Lakeland College of Wisconsin to raise awareness and bring hope to those with stories like the Campbell family’s.