Trojans Together Collective fundraises for Boutwell

Published 4:37 pm Monday, October 9, 2023

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Every story has a beginning.

For Josh Boutwell, sports editor at The Messenger, this story began on July 12, 2023. That was the day he was alone in his car and the voice on his phone told him that he had cancer.

Even though Boutwell knew, at that point, cancer was a possibility, he was stunned.

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“I had never even thought that I might have cancer,” Boutwell said. “I’ve never smoked and I don’t drink. I had no family history of cancer. Cancer just never crossed my mind.

Boutwell had been bothered by some stomach issues but he thought a source of the problems would be found and treated and he would be fine.

However, when the problems continued, a colonoscopy revealed that he, at age 36, had colon cancer. The good news was that it had not spread to any other organs.

The news that he had colon cancer had been buffered somewhat the day before.

“My wife and I were in a hospital waiting room with one other couple,” Boutwell said. “The door opened and the other couple was asked to leave. My thought was that they were going to receive bad news. But, we got the bad news.”

However, nothing would be conferred until the test results were final.

The next day, the voice on the phone confirmed. Colon cancer Stage III.

“Stage three means that the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, but they have not spread to other parts of the body,” Boutwell said. So, that was good news… but I just heard colon cancer.”

Boutwell pulled his car over and sat by himself trying to focus on the next few hours of his life. How would he tell is dad and his siblings? They had all suffered the loss of his mom to COVID-19 in 2021. How could he tell them? And his wife, how could he tell her?

But the traffic kept whizzing by and the sun was shining. Josh knew he was in a battle that he had not intended to have to fight.

After telling those he loved that he had a tough fight ahead with a foe he couldn’t even see, he began to formulate a plan.

“I knew I had to work as much as I possibly could,” Boutwell said. “My wife has been my strength. She sends me positive messages that keep me going. The treatments have been a rollercoaster ride. Ups and downs. Dizziness, worry, frustration, nausea –some nights I sleep in the bathroom. Just dealing with the fact that you have cancer seems like…too much. “

Boutwell said the hardest time of the day is in the mornings. “The chemo treatments are exhausting. The chemo and radiation work together to shrink the cancer but it takes so much out of you.”

When Josh Boutwell thinks that he just can’t go on, he thinks of Lake Eufaula, a place of refuge and contentment for him.

“I’ve been going to Lake Eufaula since I was a baby,” he said. “It was a special place for me and my mom. And, it is now for me in my thoughts.”

Boutwell knows that the road ahead will be a bit rocky but he knows that he will not be alone on his journey. His wife, his dad and sister, many friends and those he does not know, and may never know, will help keep him upright.

Just a short time ago, Boutwell received a call from Troy University football player Dell Pettus with the message “we want to fundraise for you.”

Boutwell said he was at a loss for words.

“I don’t know what to say,” Boutwell said. “I appreciate it so much. I don’t know what to expect on the road ahead. I’m planning to go to MD Anderson for a second opinion. After I finish this round of chemo, I’ll have four weeks off and then another round. I don’t know what the expenses will be.”

Whatever the expenses, Trojans Together Collective, the official NIL Collective for Troy Athletics will be in Boutwell’s corner.

Trojans Together Collective is dedicated to building communities, empowering players and winning together.

Jones Medical Supply owner Jason Jones is one of the collective’s co-founders and Chuck Carson is president of Trojans Together Collective.

“Actually, it was Chuck’s idea that Trojans Together Collective should use social media to get Josh’s story out to the public,” Jones said. “Josh does a great job of getting sports news out to the public and he is well-known in the community for the outstanding work he does as sports editor of The Messenger.”

Jones said Trojans Together Collective understands that there is a tremendous financial side to cancer and that, through the Collective, assistance could be given to Josh Boutwell as he continues his battle against cancer.

Jones said Dell Pettus is “an awesome guy” who does right all the time so he was the Trojan who was asked to contact Josh Boutwell with the news that “we want to fundraise for you.”

“Dell never hesitated,” Jones said. “And Trojans Together Collective is not hesitating in getting the word out that we want to raise money to assist Josh in his battle against cancer.”

Those who would like to support Josh may do so by donating to help Josh at