High School Wednesday Warrior
“Be like Ike” could be the motto for every high school football player in Central Florida as we enter the fall season. Isiah (Ike) Wilson lost his life to Cancer last spring, but his legacy will be expressed in those players he coached at Lake Minneola HS, Celebration HS, Lyman HS, and for a few weeks, players at Horizon High.
Football may be king of the sports but no athlete has achieved success without being a team contributor and been mentored by coaches such as Coach Wilson. Every fall, the coaches do their best to shape each individual into a football player that will play their position at the highest level and collectively achieve success. Ike was the consummate “coach” who cared for each individual and gave what he had so they could achieve more both on and off the field. So, if you need a motto, try “Be like Ike.”
OSF: Are you honoring someone?
A: On behalf of my late husband, Ike Wilson
OSF: Tell us your personal story
A: Isiah “Ike” Wilson a loving husband, father, son, brother, coach and mentor to so many lived a full life. A very healthy, strong College athlete began having severe stomach pains in 2007. At that time, a small carcinoid tumor was discovered and removed. Ike went on to be married and started a family, after several years his pain returned, it was eventually discovered that the carcinoid had spread to his liver in 2014. Ikes first treatment in 2014 was a liver resection. Though 16 tumors were removed at that time, all of the tumors could not be removed due to their location. Ike went on to undergo any and all available treatment. At times, he would respond well and his tumors would stabilize, then begin growing and spreading again. In June of 2020 Ike’s cancer became extremely aggressive. He went on to undergo aggressive chemo treatments, this did not stop him. In the middle of the Pandemic, Ike would carry his chemo pouch around his waist, cover it with a shirt or sweater and push forth to teach his high school students and coach his football players. Many people did not even know he was being injected with chemo right before their eyes. He was beyond a Warrior, nothing stopped him and he never gave up. On April 22, 2021- our 12th wedding anniversary, we were informed that Ikes cancer had spread to his central nervous system and he was diagnosed with leptomeningeal disease with a grim prognosis. Ike was not discouraged, he pushed forth stronger than ever. Ike hosted coach Zoom meetings from his hospital room, he was busy drafting play books from his hospital bed. Ike was on the football field coaching his Spring players the week before his last day here with us. He fought and made the most of every single moment here on this side of Heaven. On June 3, 2021 he was called home. He is a true warrior, a true legend, forever in our hearts!
OSF: When/How old were they diagnosed?
A: 2014/32 years young
OSF: What stage were you diagnosed?
A: Stage 4
OSF: What did their support system look like?
A: Ike has always had a strong support system. He has poured so much into everyone around him his entire life that he has built a solid support system.
OSF: Did they lose their hair? How did they manage this?
A: Ike managed to hold onto his hair for quite some time. He started with long, luscious dreadlocks, which he lost in 2019. Though he lost the locks, he still had a mini afro and did not completely lose all of his hair. In early 2021 he had officially lost all of his hair; this was not easy for him and it was a transition for our children to see their Daddy with no hair on his head and face. Though it was difficult, he managed it like a “champ” just like he approached everything else in life, he kind of shrugged and moved on.
OSF: What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
A: I believe the biggest obstacle for Ike was not being the “strength” he once was. .
OSF: What’s your best advice for anyone currently fighting cancer?
A: Live every moment to the fullest. In his last days, Ike would say “tell me I have 3 days, I’ll say ‘OK, how are we gonna enjoy these 3 days? What are we going to do? Lets go!'” He never gave up and didn’t get discouraged regardless of what it looked like. Never give up, keep fighting, don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s not worth it. Cherish every single moment and let your loved ones know how much you love them.
OSF: What does the Cure Bowl mean to you?
A: Ike lived for football. He had been a part of the Cure Bowl team in the past, and we have attended Cure Bowl games as a family. The Cure Bowl is the perfect intersection of Ikes passion and hope for the future
OSF: Do you have an inspirational quote or words you’d like to share?
A: Ike would tease me because I am a “quote” person, and he wasn’t but he did very much like this quote which perfectly defines what a great man he was in every single aspect of his life. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Lastly, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” Peace and Blessings friends!!
OSF: Anything else you would like to share?
A: If ever you are feeling discouraged or fearful, I am hopeful that you can think of this warrior and #BeLikeIke