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Lee’s Summit wrestler has new opponent to take down: leukemia

16-year-old Keaton Miller knew something was wrong with his body this past wrestling season, but he didn't imagine it would be cancer.
Lee’s Summit wrestler has a new opponent to take down: leukemia
Posted at 6:06 AM, Apr 29, 2024

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — The Lee’s Summit community has rallied behind a teen recently diagnosed with cancer.

Keaton Miller, 16, loves wrestling. This past season, however, he said he wasn’t performing and recovering like normal.

He said he knew he needed to go to the doctor.

“In the middle of the wrestling season, we went and saw our cardiologists and got my lungs looked at and got my blood tested,” Keaton said.

But it wasn't until just a few weeks ago Keaton was diagnosed with leukemia, a disease that wasn’t on his or the doctor's list of possibilities.

“In an hour, they do some blood diagnosis. Three hours, you're diagnosed with B-ALL leukemia. And 24 hours, you're in chemotherapy, and 24 hours after that you're in chemotherapy,” said Keaton's dad, Dave Miller.

In the weeks since, Keaton has stayed home trying to rest between treatments. While he isn’t going to school or wrestling, that doesn’t mean he is alone in this fight.

His family has been put on — what Miller estimates is — thousands of prayer lists. There was also a meal train, t-shirt sale and GoFundMe set up.

“It’s unbelievable. The community, the family, people we don't know," Dave Miller said. "It's just very touching and supportive."

Adam West, Keaton's wrestling coach, said the inspirational quotes lining the wall of the Lee's Summit West wrestling room are Keaton's source of strength.

West said one quote applies to Keaton’s situation the best: “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.”

“We’re just behind him. Just trying to be positive with him ... this is going to work out. You’ve done hard things before,” West said.

Keaton said he feels because he is extremely athletic, he is physically capable of taking down the cancer.

He currently goes to chemotherapy every Friday. Once he is in remission, he will attend monthly check-ins for three years.

“I'm in good shape, though. I'm doing good," Keaton said. "I'm thankful for everybody, and I'm thankful for everything that everyone has done."

Keaton's biggest motivation is to get back on the mat. He said he’ll be back, and his dad said he will do whatever he can to make it happen.