By Melissa Nipper
Brad Hill is accustomed to encouraging student-athletes, helping them overcome challenges and celebrating their victories with them.
As assistant baseball coach and the former head cycling coach at Milligan, Hill is a pillar of strength for his teams on the playing field.
But last year, a frightening diagnosis in his family reversed the roles, and the coach drew strength from his players.
On June 21, 2012, Hill’s wife, Ashley, gave birth to their second son, Kael. After a week of grueling medical tests and a surgery, eight-day-old Kael was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer made up of cells that normally develop into skeletal muscle.
Word of Kael’s cancer spread to the Hills’ family and friends, including the Milligan community. Brad decided to take a leave of absence from his coaching duties in order to help care for Kael, who started chemotherapy treatments within a few weeks.
While Hill stepped back from his coaching responsibilities, his players and colleagues at Milligan stepped up to support the family with encouragement, fundraisers, and prayers for a victory over the biggest opponent they had ever faced as a team – cancer.