Bass Rings the Bell, Dougherty Athlete is Cancer Free

Video from WALB
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 6:46 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - ”This school year has been so boring without Eric. He was so funny. He was one of the most dedicated people on the basketball team like he went from nothing to splashing on everyone on the team.”

This past summer Eric Bass Jr. was gearing up to play center for the Dougherty High Trojans basketball team when he began to experience reoccurring knee pain. Which many thought was due to his sudden growth spurt.

After extensive testing a biopsy confirmed that he had a form of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma.

“I would’ve never expected this to happen to me,” expressed Bass.

Doctors found a large mass in his thigh area that lead to the removal of his entire femur. Bass went through eight months of chemotherapy and intensive rehab to help him learn to walk again. Despite his circumstances his care team says he showed up to every appointment singing a positive tune.

“You know what, I’m going to get rid of this. I’m going to hang in there and not complain along the way even when I feel ill, in pain or tired. I’m going to keep pushing through and he absolutely did,” said Nurse Practitioner Melissa Martin.

With the unwavering love and support of his mother and lots of prayer from his loved one, Bass is now on the other side of this fight and he was able to hear the sound that signifies he’s won this hard fought battle.

“Honestly I’m just blessed to still have my legs. For it to not be any worse than it was and still be healthy and be able to walk with my legs.”

Bass is now cancer free. He celebrated his bell ringing ceremony surrounded by many loved ones and a group that always stood beside him on and off the court; his teammates and coaches.

“Thank you God. We were able to finish in the elite 8 but this was the biggest victory. Being that he was able to ring that bell and say that he was cancer free. You know I’ll take that over any state championship, any,” said Dougherty’s head basketball coach Bakari Bryant.

The road to remission is just beginning for Bass. Although playing basketball may look a little different for him going forward, Coach Bryant assured him that he still has a very important role on the team.

“You know how you have grad assistant coaches on the college level? He’s going to have to be my student assistant coach come next year and he’s going to be one of the best coaches I ever had.”