Kye Robertson wants to thank everyone, but he cannot. There are simply too many.
For the past year, the Harker Heights assistant baseball and football coach has been struggling to defeat the cancer that silently crept into his body. Forced to relocate to a Houston hospital for 10 months of treatment, Robertson rarely saw his home, family or friends.
Recently, however, fate intervened.
After enduring countless procedures, transfusions and surgeries, Robertson was declared cancer free.
Now, back at home surrounded by all he cherishes, the Class of 2005 Harker Heights graduate feels fortunate to survive the disease, and he knows it could not have happened alone.
“There were a lot of people helping me behind the scenes,” the former Knights standout baseball player said. “They were doing things so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it.
“Having so many people to help was just phenomenal. It’s amazing what everyone has done for us, and it felt like I had the support of the whole community of Killeen.”
While doctors and nurses worked diligently to cure his body, Robertson and his family were flooded with assistance. From fellow coaches to players to students to complete strangers and even local companies, countless individuals played a role.
Among other things, fundraisers were held to help offset medical expenses, household chores and errands were completed by friends when needed, and perhaps most importantly, messages of encouragement, inspiration and reassurance constantly arrived.
“It was pretty incredible,” Robertson said. “It started to seem like almost daily my mom or my wife would tell me to look at this or that because they got a text or saw on Facebook somebody reached out.
“It was overwhelming.”
The outpouring was not limited to friends either.
Throughout the football and baseball seasons, rival fans and coaches would show support by wearing yellow T-shirts and bracelets to represent cancer awareness, making motivational signs and raising donations.
Although Robertson was unable to witness the acts in person as he fought for survival in a hospital room, the gestures did not go unnoticed.
“That is the kind of stuff that really got to me,” he said. “They didn’t have to do that, but Killeen High, Ellison, Shoemaker, Copperas Cove and the other surrounding schools and coaches all went out of their way.”
One event in particular sticks out to the father of two small children.
In October, when the Knights and Grey Wolves played at Leo Buckley Stadium, a sea of yellow T-shirts erased the teams’ respective school colors in the stands.
It is a scene that will remain forever embedded in Robertson’s mind.
“Seeing a picture of that crowd in all yellow was really emotional,” he said. “That is when I broke down the most, but it was in happiness.
“So many people just came out of the woodwork unexpectedly, and I wish I could tell everybody thank you, but it is just impossible to account for every single person.”
While Robertson is now cancer free, he knows the disease could resurface, and he still has more to endure with hip replacement surgery on the horizon and weekly trips to Houston for evaluations scheduled for the foreseeable future.
But Robertson intends to return to his role as a special education teacher this fall and will slowly work back into his coaching duties.
At times, he was unsure if he would ever resume the lifestyle lived prior to cancer, but with a wealth of support from the community, anything less became unacceptable.
“So many people stepped up and did little things for us,” Robertson said. “It got to the point where I was like, if I quit now, I’m letting down everybody.
“It wasn’t just about me anymore.”