Inspiration for the Community: Newaygo’s Kral Beats Cancer, Shines on Hardwood
NEWAYGO – The regular-season finale between the Kent City and Newaygo boys basketball teams on Thursday, March 5 was particularly special for one Newaygo student-athlete.
Trevir Kral, a student-manager for the varsity boys basketball program, saw his journey on the hardwood come full circle.
Kral was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia as an eighth-grader in 2016 and underwent treatment and chemotherapy over the next three years.
“It was spring break of 2016,” Kral said. “I was just going in for a regular sports physical so I could play baseball that year.”
It was during that physical that Kral’s grandfather and family physician, Roger Morris, noticed something wrong with his grandson. Morris feared the worse, and after a blood sample, he had to tell Trevir the bad news.
“I didn’t know what was going on at this time,” Kral said. “I got out of the shower and he was sitting there crying. I was still confused as to what was going on. He said, ‘Pack some bags. You might have to stay the night at the hospital.’ We got in the car. He told me that they wanted me to get tested for cancer.”
Because of his treatments, Kral was unable to participate in athletics, instead serving as a manager for Newaygo’s basketball, football and baseball programs.
Kral completed his chemotherapy treatments in August 2019 and began his senior year of high school.
“I had times that, ‘Oh, how am I going to survive this?’ ‘How am I going to do this,” Kral said. “I just pushed through it and got through it. I stayed positive through this entire thing.”
In Newaygo’s 2019-20 regular-season finale against Kent City, Kral was in the starting lineup and scored his first basket for the Lions.
“I was talking to some of the guys, you know, what do you think about him maybe being able to suit up the Kent City game, which is the last game of the year,” Newaygo boys basketball coach Joe Barrette said. “I said we can see what that would entail, what it would look like. The more I thought about it, we said why not?”
“I just heard the crowd go wild,” added Kral. “I didn’t know what happened. I was in total shock at this time.
“It was a fun ride going the four years. I had those first two years as a hard time. But the last two, it was a heck of a time.”
It was the best way to end a memorable four years of high school.