LANSING | Thornton Fractional South High School golfer Josh Crosby used to hate Monday mornings.
When he was in fifth grade, Crosby didn't hate the first day of the school week because he didn't want to go to school. He hated what he had to face.
"Every Monday for a while, I had to go to UIC (University of Illinois Medical Center) for my treatments," Crosby said. "I remember on Sunday nights I used to get jumpy."
In December 2006, when he was 10 years old, Crosby was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The 15-year-old sophomore has been cancer-free for almost 1 1/2 years.
His symptoms started when he was having pain in his knees. After visits to several orthopedic doctors, the family went to some specialists and an MRI revealed the bad news.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, is a form of cancer characterized by the proliferation of malignant, immature white blood cells. They continuously multiply and crowd out normal cells in bone marrow before spreading to other organs.
"Those Sunday nights, Josh never felt good," his mother, Laurie Crosby, said. "We knew he had to go up there for whatever treatments he needed. As he got better, the trips were not every week, but he went up there and went through it."
Crosby and his teammates will participate in today's Class 3A Mount Carmel Regional at Glenwoodie Golf Club in Glenwood.
Through the ups and downs and the trips and treatments, Crosby laughs about what happened in 2007 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. White Sox outfielder Rob Mackowiak, a former South Suburban College star, hit a foul ball straight back.
"We were sitting right above where the (protective) screen ended and I got it right over the left eye," Crosby said. "I had to go to UIC right away and missed the game and my Little League game that night. All I had was a bump on my forehead."
After what he went through, it may have been just a sidetrack.
"I was scared, but I was young, so I guess I didn't understand," Crosby said. "I am glad if someone had to get ALL, it was me and not my mom or dad (John) or my little brother (Jack) or my sister (Alyson)."
Laurie Crosby said it was tough for any parent to see their child suffer, let alone come down with cancer -- a word that stops everyone in their tracks.
"It's not so much what me and my husband and family went through, it was what Josh had to go through," she said. "The chemo, the spinal taps, medicine. He had to take 14 pills or so a day and he didn't want to take them, but I told him, 'Josh, you have to take your medicine or you are going to die.'"
His brother Jack, who was 4 when his brother was stricken, remembers Josh being sick.
"He threw up on me once," Jack recalled of his brother's reaction to a chemotherapy treatment.
Josh remembers talking to his classmates at Coolidge Elementary School in Lansing and having to stop.
"I was telling them about my ALL and what I was going through and all of a sudden, I had to grab my bucket," Crosby said. "I remember running down the hall being sick."
At one time, Crosby said he was so shy, he didn't even want to mingle with his youth soccer teammates. Now, he has been on Chicago television and talks to various groups about what he went through. He is involved in T.F. South's St. Baldrick's Day cancer research fundraiser, was at the Volley for a Cure on Tuesday, and the Pink Out on Friday.
"It is good for me to talk about ALL and to talk to kids my age about it," Crosby said. "It's funny how I love now getting up in front of people and talking about raising money for cancer research."
Laurie Crosby said support from family, friends and community played a big role in their coming through emotionally.
"At first, I guess there is denial, but we knew we had to get him the help he needed," she said. "My family and everyone, they were a big help from watching Jack, to giving support and Dr. Mary Lou Schmidt, his doctor at UIC."