Oxford honors teacher battling brain cancer
By Steven Hoffman
The Oxford Area High School family offered its love and support to a much-admired science teacher who is battling brain cancer, hosting a “Gray Out” event in his honor last Friday evening.
More than 250 people filled the school’s gym to welcome back Ben Young for the first time since he underwent surgery in December. Most of the people in attendance, including the members of the Oxford wrestling team, were wearing gray, which is the color of initiatives related to the brain cancer awareness campaign. The crowd got to watch the wrestling team take on Unionville and Octorara in separate matches. Young is an assistant coach for the team.
Before Oxford’s match with Octorara, Young was introduced and the crowd cheered wildly as he exchanged high-fives and hugs with students and teachers. He was accompanied by his wife, Amanda, and their two young children.
About eight years ago, Young had a benign tumor removed. He started suffering from symptoms again in 2017, and had another tumor removed in December. He was diagnosed with brain cancer.
High school principal James Canaday said that there has been an outpouring of support for the Young family since the diagnosis. His colleagues, students, and parents of students said that Young is the kind of educator who instills important character traits into the students and athletes that he worked with.
Canaday said that Young is the kind of teacher who always puts the students first and the school first.
“He’s the exact type of person that you want in front of kids,” Canaday said.
Canaday said that Young’s diagnosis has been difficult on the staff and students at the school, but everyone appreciated the opportunity to show love and support for a teacher and coach who has had a big impact on the school and its students.
Sam Blevins, a member of the wrestling team, said that it’s been difficult for the team to see one of their coaches battle cancer, but being able to honor Young on Senior Night was special.
“Coach Young is a mentor and a father figure to a lot of the guys,” said Blevins, a junior. “He’s an inspiration to all of us. It’s been hard on a lot of us, but tonight is special because we are able to honor him.”
Kimberly Horseman, whose son, Dylan, is on the wrestling team, said that Young is an extremely popular teacher and coach with the students.
“They absolutely adore him,” she said.
Blevins said that everyone is committed to standing with the Young family as the popular teacher and coach battles brain cancer.
“We’re all here for him,” said Blevins. “He is in our prayers and our thoughts continually.”
The high school and the Oxford Wrestling Association are planning a benefit event on Friday, March 23 at the Redman’s Hall in Oxford. There will be dinner and entertainment that evening, as well as a silent auction and raffle items. Tickets for the event are now available. The money raised will go toward the Young family’s medical bills and daily expenses.
Anyone who is unable to attend the benefit but would like to make a donation can do so sending the donation to the Ben Young Family Benefit, Oxford Area High School Wrestling, 705 Waterway Road, Oxford, PA 19363. For more information about the event, contact Danielle Sheffield at firstname.lastname@example.org