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Utah 17-year-old continues to defy odds while battling brain cancer

Posted at 8:49 PM, Jun 11, 2024

LEHI, Utah — "I was trying to inspire people because I was going through much, I couldn't do everything, but I was still trying," said Calvin Smith.

Calvin, a 17-year-old mountain biker from Lehi, has been battling brain cancer since he was nine years old.

"I was mountain biking and I loved it, but my brain tumors keep coming back," he said. "Before this year, I was trying to hide it because I wanted to just be a kid."

Calvin's dad Ryan added: "We lowered expectations a lot, went in thinking the worst and thought he wouldn't be able to talk or walk. Then he woke up from his first surgery and was like, 'I'm hungry,' and we're like, 'You're not supposed to be talking.'"

He has had seven brain surgeries, which became a routine, but every time the tumor has come back, it has gotten worse. His most recent surgery was in January 2024. Calvin's tumor has not only become non-operable, but it has also paralyzed the right side of his body.

"It happened again, another surgery, and I lost mostly all my right side. I can't move my arm," he said.

Calvin doesn't let brain cancer hold him back. His high school coach put up a fundraiser for a $20,000 adaptive bike and that exceeded expectations within a month.

"When we first did it, I was like, 'There's no way we'll get 20,000,' and then two weeks later we were at 30, and then we did a ride for me. After, that it doubled," said Calvin. "300 people showed up. [Their support] it's helped so much."

The fundraiser is now closed, capping around $75,000. With the extra money raised, he and his family have some summer plans.

"I can have more experiences with my family and friends. I want to go to Cedar Point and go sky diving," said Calvin.

His dad agreed: "Definitely Cedar Point and definitely skydiving."

Calvin's advice to anyone reading or watching is to still live your life, no matter what the circumstance is.