WEST FORSYTH — A former West Forsyth High football star has written a book about his experiences battling cancer.
Trey Rood, and his mother Cherie, spent about three years co-writing with the assistance of a ghostwriter “Changing the Game Plan: The Trey Rood Story.” The book was released on Aug. 27 by publisher Boutique of Quality Books.
Trey and Cherie Rood said they want the book to inspire others facing difficult times in life.
“Writing the book wasn’t really something we just decided to do, it was something that we sort of more felt like we had to do,” Trey Rood said. “We knew it would be a lot of inspiration for a lot of people.”
The book, which is told from the first-person perspectives of both Rood and his mother, traces his battle with cancer within the context of football.
Rood was diagnosed with stage III melanoma in 2007 at age 15, while he was finishing up his freshman year at West.
Two years later, the cancer returned and progressed to stage IV.
As a high school senior and standout football player who hoped to continue the game at the college level, he underwent numerous surgeries and challenges, including five months of alternative treatment traveling back and forth to Germany.
Throughout it all, Rood continued to play football, starting on defense for the Wolverines. He went on to graduate in 2010 from West, but was still battling the cancer.
In July of that year, Trey entered Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center. He continued to battle 11 brain tumors throughout his journey as the disease of melanoma relentlessly spread through his body.
At MD Anderson, the family found Dr. Patrick Hwu, who treated Trey in an adoptive T-cell therapy trial. T-cell therapy uses genetically modified versions of the patient’s own immune cells.
That treatment changed the path of his disease, and in fall 2010 Trey entered the University of Georgia.
While the cancer did end his football career, preventing him from playing at the collegiate level, Rood is scheduled to graduate with a business degree from UGA this December. And he has a job lined up with Heritage Bank Mortgage in Atlanta.
Due to his love of the game and commitment to it while at West, the book’s football theme emerged early on, Cherie Rood said.
“The book is framed around the story of a football player and changing the game plan,” she said. “It’s a football story of how we had to keep changing the game plan over and over and keep making a different plan with different ideas or thoughts for survival.
“A lot of that plays back to Trey’s football mentality.”
Working through the process of telling the story was a powerful experience for her.
“There was many a day where I sat at a Starbucks with the ghostwriter crying through the story,” she said. “It was many hours of telling the story emotionally, and there is a good bit of that in it and that was the part that a lot of folks around us [in the community] didn’t see.”
All proceeds of the book will go to further T-cell treatment research at MD Anderson Hospital.
“We want to give back to those who may not have an opportunity to have that treatment,” Cherie Rood said. “Today, there are still only two people a month a MD Anderson that they can treat … the therapy he had is only about five years old.”
Trey said his main hope for the book is that it will provide “inspiration and hope” to those going through a cancer battle or any other life struggle.
“Our main goal for the book is just to get our story out to as many people as possible,” he said. “We just want to help people in any way we can in providing our story.”
Added his mother: “I’ve gotten several emails from people telling me that they feel like they can get through any situation if we could go through what we did. It’s an amazing feeling.”