MANSFIELD – Teenage years are not easy and they can feel like the toughest of your life.
17-year old Hunter Dale showed us anything is possible as long as you have the right attitude.
“I can still remember when I was trying to get him out of the house to walk down to the mailbox. That was his goal for the day,” said Kate Dale, Hunter’s mother.
Hunter’s mother remembered the dark days when her son spent countless months in a hospital bed hooked up to machines. At only 15 years old, he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and PSC (Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis).
That is when Hunter met Dr. Karan Emerick, one of the few doctors who saved his life through surgery by removing his large intestine.
“He never complained, he never whined, he never got angry, he just said okay tell me what I need to do,” said Dr. Emerick.
Ulcerative Colitis is a disease that causes inflammation in your large intestine. As for PSC, it is a chronic liver disease.
After Hunter’s surgery in November 2018, Hunter had to wear an ostomy bag, something he has learned to hide and manage.
However, Hunter refused to let his conditions get the best of him. By wearing what is called a Stealth Belt, he overcame the ultimate hurdle by pursuing his love for track and field.
“Every week, I would get a bit more comfortable with what I was doing and eventually, I am where I am now being able to basically do whatever I want in track,” said said Hunter.
If that was not enough, he got a little creative with his Prom-posal.
Hunter literally did a long jump – from the hospital bed to junior prom – decked out in a tuxedo and shiny, leather shoes.
“If you manage to keep a positive attitude in the end, you will end up feeling a lot better,” added Hunter.
Hunter still has one more year of high school to finish, but he already has some big plans brewing for his future.
He is hoping to compete in track and field at a Division 3 school all while majoring in engineering.