VALLEY — Adams State University student and Center graduate George “Will” Weatherford, diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma in 2016, died at home the morning of May 31, his mother Julie Wightman Weatherford reported in the last update to a “Where There’s a Will There’s a Way” GoFundMe site on Friday.
“He is no longer suffering,” she stated. “Thank you all for your support and love. Keep us in your prayers as we soldier through this time.”
Weatherford was a state wrestler at Center High School all four years and valedictorian of his high school class in 2015. He was a student at Adams State University when he became ill in 2016.
Suffering from Bell’s Palsy-like symptoms, the honor student and athlete had fallen ill shortly before a family vacation to Japan the summer of 2016. He went to a doctor and received medicine he expected would soon make him better, so he decided to leave with his family to Japan, since the trip had been scheduled for some time.
After he arrived in Japan, his symptoms became worse, and he wound up in the hospital in a severe, undiagnosed condition.
As Weatherford’s condition worsened, his family worked on a plan to get him back to the U.S. and set up a GoFundMe site to help them do so. When he returned to the U.S., Weatherford was initially flown to the Children’s Hospital in Denver and then transferred to the University of Colorado Hospital. Tests revealed that he had T cell lymphoma, and chemotherapy was immediately begun.
He suffered from a very rare type of cancer that affects only about 50 people in the world. Following the diagnosis Weatherford went through treatments in Denver and Oklahoma including multiple chemo treatments, radiation, stem cell transplant and physical and occupational therapy.
Weatherford was passionate about weight lifting and good nutrition, loved the Lord and wanted to finish his college education to help others with fitness and nutrition and finding the Lord. His job was helping his friend and disabled roommate with household tasks.
Former Center School Superintendent George Welsh posted at the time the initial GoFundMe site was set up, “Mr. Weatherford is a fine young man, one of our finest CHS graduates ever.”