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Next Chapter: Timmy Ward's Journey from Cancer Survivor to Division I Football Player

Canton-Native Ward Beats Cancer, Overcomes ACL Injury to Walk On at Rutgers

MOOSIC, Pa. — The next chapter in Timmy Ward's journey is truly remarkable. The cancer survivor is continuing to prove the doubters wrong - this time by earning a roster spot to play Division I college football. 

Timmy Ward's story is what movie scripts are made of. Earning a spot on our 2018 Dream Team was nothing compared to what he was dealing with off the field. That fall, the Canton-native was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. We've been following his story ever since. 

He beat cancer, only to lose most of his senior season to an ACL injury. Now, Ward is a freshman at Rutgers. Served as a student manager for the football team, but he earned himself a tryout this past September. Last week – a text he thought he'd never read. 

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"He (Rutgers Special Assistant to the Head Coach Joe Susan) texted me with 'Happy New Year. Hope you are well. We will be opening a roster spot for you,'" Ward read from his phone. "When I saw the text, all the weight on my shoulders just came off."

A weight most can only imagine. Ward will walk on as a wide receiver next season with the Scarlet Knights. A cancer survivor, and now a Division I football player.

"No matter what I've gone through I always thought I was going to make it, somehow, someway," Ward said. "Pretty crazy to think that I'm here right now after everything, but I don't think I ever doubted that I was going to be here."

An opportunity Ward says means the world to him. At just 20 years old, he's been through more adversity than most see in a lifetime. So many chances to let the dream die, but he wouldn't let it. 

Credit: WNEP
Timmy Ward on the sidelines for Canton with an ACL injury.

"Back when all that, all my cancer stuff happened, that was enough for me for a lifetime, just to be like alright, can I just live a normal life and al that?" Ward asked. "I don't think very many Division I football players have had cancer, then went through an ACL, then was a student manager in the fall and then walked on and made the team. So, my journey's definitely been unique, but it's made me who I am and changed how I look at life."

An outlook he hopes can serve as inspiration. 

"Life is hard sometimes and it's not fair," Ward explained. "No matter what happens just keep going, find a way to just crawl out of that hole and keep moving."

Ward says he hopes his story is still only beginning – after all, that movie needs a good ending. 

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