About this time last year a medical team was trying to ascertain exactly what was afflicting Clay Crowley.
Crowley was fishing with his brother, Doc, sometime in March last year when he got really sick.
“I started throwing up and everything. It took them about a month to figure you what I had, kind of a trial and error (process),” said Crowley.
An endoscopy revealed Crowley, who is the honorary chariperson for the South Logan County Relay for Life, had lymphoma. As the honorary chairperson, Crowley will lead the survivor’s lap at the annual Relay for Life on Friday, May 4.
The initial prognosis was grim for the 30-year old father of a less than 1-year old boy named Cooper.
“No one every told me a stage, I read Stage IV on a report, but I don’t know that is what it was. I never even read about it. I never Googled it or anything. I just put my faith in God and didn’t worry about the rest.”
Crowley said he had also never been personally connected with anyone else who had a lymphoma diagnosis, further leaving him to rely on faith.
After spending a couple of weeks in a hospital in Fort Smith, Crowley spent three more weeks at MD Anderson in Houston where he started a chemotherapy regimen.
While in Fort Smith, Crowley’s wife, Brooke, the dyslexia intervention specialist for the Booneville School District, missed a lot of school. While in Houston, his parents were there most of the time.
“I went down there in late April and on July 5th they told me I was in complete remission after two rounds of chemo,” said Crowley.
Four more rounds of chemo followed and the electrical engineer for REA in Ozark was off work for six months.
“They were great. I came back about a month after my last chemo treatment,” said Crowley.
In the meantime Crowley was the subject of support and prayers from two communities.
“It’s crazy. I grew up and went to school in Charleston (2005 graduate) but I spent a lot of my time over here, hunting, fishing and playing golf and different things,” said Crowley. “So I had two communities that were pulling for me.
“Anything that I needed was taken care of. I really can’t thank everybody. It was amazing the amount of support we had, I kind of get emotional thinking about it.”
Crowley’s ties to Booneville are deep. Both of his parents are Booneville natives. Terry (Hale) is a 1982 graduate, and Jay is a member of the BHS Class of 1979. He also has grandparents Naomi Crowley and Jake Hale here. His brother, also a Charleston graduate, is the defensive coordinator for the Bearcat football team.