Many describe high school as the best years of their lives.
Despite life-threatening circumstances, Brett DeJesus sees his “faith test” as a rising high school sophomore in 2011 as an opportunity to be a beacon for Christ.
“I was not feeling well and we were headed to Florida. So we went to the hospital, got a CT scan, and found out I had cancer,” DeJesus said. “I had a brain tumor, and I had to have chemo and radiation for a year.”
Although DeJesus survived, having cancer has affected his life forever. The chemotherapy and radiation caused him to have attention deficit disorder, a weak bladder, thyroid issues and physical ticks of nervousness. Today, he has to ingest a daily multitude of vitamins and receive testosterone shots. The Green Bay Packers’ fan used to play several sports. But he was advised not to play for fear of the side effects that could result if he were to get physically tackled.
“I feel like God gave me the tumor to put me to a test … a test of faith,” DeJesus said. “The doctor told me the worst-case scenario and that I might die soon. After the tumor was removed, I had to have two more biopsies, but they were less serious.”
With eyes that seem to look into a person’s soul, DeJesus said emphatically, “I passed the faith test.”
The high school senior, who is active in the Northpoint Church youth group, describes himself as a “medium” student although he is on the honor roll. His favorite subject is math, but he admits it’s not his best subject.
DeJesus’ favorite class is Life, Nutrition and Wellness because he gets to cook. He discovered a love for cooking when he made his first pizza.
“From the first dish I made, I fell in love with cooking and decided I wanted to make it my career,” DeJesus said. “I went home and asked my parents to teach me how to cook.”
His teachers have a strong respect for DeJesus’ classroom performance, which was affected by his cancer treatment.
“I have never seen anything but dedication from Brett. He is hard-working and a very, very kind young man,” said Amy Loughran, culinary arts teacher,
“Despite everything he has gone through, he still manages to come to school and give me a hug. He is an inspiration indeed,” said Amal Baty, coordinator of Academic and Student Activities for CCHS.
For DeJesus, he is looking forward to graduation in June and will continue his work for God.
“I do not count myself as special. I was made unique by God with special abilities and I can use those as outreach to build his kingdom,” he said.