NewsLocal News


ACISD remains 'Cayson Strong' as boy nears third anniversary of cancer diagnosis

ACISD remains 'Cayson Strong' as boy nears third anniversary of cancer diagnosis
Posted at 8:37 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-21 23:33:48-04

FULTON, Texas — Almost three years ago, then-six year old Cayson Rodriguez was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia, a condition that requires frequent treatments and the occasional hospitalization.

His long medical ordeal has not been easy.

“It’s not fun, when people go through that," Cayson said. "And it’s not fair, because I was in a doctor’s (office) for like a month.”

Friday marks the three year anniversary of Cayson's cancer diagnosis, a day his grandmother called "very scary" for her and the rest of the family.

Soon after that day, Cayson's mother came up with 'Cayson Strong', a movement to support her son and to increase leukemia awareness.

At first, the youth football team that Cayson's older brother Cayden plays for put the slogan on their helmets.

Before long, the Aransas County Independent School District took up the campaign, culminating in Cayson Strong Day last Tuesday.

Students, teachers, and staff members at ACISD schools were encouraged to wear orange -- the color that represents leukemia awareness.

“When I started looking at all the pictures from the different campuses of our school (district) of teachers and students and the bus person now, our kitchen staff, the custodians all wearing orange to support him, I was blown away,” Cayson's grandmother Connie Teal said.

Shelly Rogers is one of the teachers who wore orange on Cayson Strong Day.

At the beginning of the school year, she became Cayson's third grade math and science teacher at Fulton Learning Center, and she's impressed by what she sees in him.

“Just as sweet and as kind as he is, you would not know everything he’s been through," she said.

School life hasn't been perfect for Cayson since his diagnosis.

There were times when fellow students made fun of him for being bald -- his hair having fallen out because of his cancer treatments.

Currently, Cayson's golden locks are past his shoulders, but they'll soon meet the scissors for a good cause.

“I’m growing it back to donate it to kids who need it," he said. "Because they’ll need the hair more than me.”

The family has arranged for Cayson's donated hair to be made into wigs for other children under cancer treatments through the organization Locks of Love.

Cayson's final treatments are set for February.

After that, there will be frequent checkups.

But if cancer isn't detected for five years, Teal says doctors will consider him cured.

“You’ve got to just keep praying and keeping him healthy to make sure that he doesn’t get a recurrence,” she said.