ST. PAUL, Minn. -- On Wednesday, October 10, 2012, former Wildcat football player Kyhaunn Woods lost a valiant battle with cancer. He leaves behind a wife (former WSU basketball player Andie Willer), three small children, Maxwell, Myles and Amari, and a tremendous amount of friends, teammates, coaches, and staff from his Weber State family.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Kyhaunn's family during this trying time, and we wish them the very best in the future.
Funeral arrangements are as follows:
Sunday visitation from 4:00 -- 7:00 p.m.
Ballard -- Sunder Funeral Home
104 First Street West
Jordan, MN. 55352
Monday Funeral Services
10:00 a.m. Visitation
11:00 a.m. Service
12:00 noon Hospitality
Westwood Community Church
3121 Westwood Drive
Excelsior, MN. 5531
A fund has been set up for the Woods family to help with medical bills and many other expenses. If you would like to contribute, please click below or visit the following link: http://fnd.us/c/eMfgf
Below is a well-written column by Ogden Standard Examiner sports writer Jim Burton, chronicling Kyhaunn's story in his last days.
Former WSU standout making most of remaining days
By Jim Burton
He excelled on the football field.
He dominated on the track.
He even wore the Waldo suit.
Yes, it's fair to say Kyhaunn Woods represented Weber State athletics with something greater than his ability: his passion.
Today, Woods, 38, is in a St. Paul, Minn., hospice center. He is dying of a cruel and relentless form of brain cancer. How much time he has left, nobody knows. Reached by phone Tuesday, his father-in-law, Bob Willer said the former Wildcat wide receiver's prognosis is critical.
"Right now, it's just trying to make him as comfortable as we can for what little time he's going to have left," Willer said.
Woods played football at Weber State during the 1995 and '96 seasons. As a senior, he started all 11 games for coach Dave Arslanian, catching 49 passes, three of them for touchdowns.
He also ran track for coach Chick Hislop and still remains one of WSU's all-time great sprinters and long jumpers.
When his eligibility ran out, Woods stayed close to WSU's athletic program by suiting up as the Wildcats' mascot, Waldo, for the 1998-99 season.
He graduated with a degree in business and after a stint playing arena football, settled in the Minneapolis area where he was a coach and trainer working at the E.J. Henderson Youth Foundation.
In December 2011, Woods was with his wife, Andrea, and children, Maxwell, Myles and Amari, in Colorado to celebrate Christmas. He began feeling sick on Dec. 22 and by Christmas Eve he'd been diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive form of brain cancer.
Over the next several months Kyhaunn and his wife, former WSU basketball player Andrea (Andie) Willer, fought the cancer with tremendous faith, courage and positivity. Andie has written a number of blog entires (www.caringbridge.org/visit/kyhaunnwoods) detailing her husband's battle; they are moving and powerful and, of course, inspirational.
Earlier this month, doctors informed the family Kyhaunn's body had stopped responding to treatment and that the tumor had begun to grow. He was taken off medication and sent to a hospice care center.
By all accounts, Woods' story is one of success and we sports fans love those. He came from inner city Los Angeles, earned his degree at WSU, married and began a family in the Midwest. He made the most of his talents and coupled them with a naturally gregarious personality to touch people's lives.
This weekend, Kyhaunn will be one of four people honored by Humor to Fight the Tumor, a fundraising event benefiting the American Brain Tumor Association.
"He just always saw the good in people," Willer said.
Yes indeed, we love those stories.
But Kyhaunn's story is also one of heartbreaking sadness, of a life burdened with unfair physical and emotional challenges, not just for him but for his family.
If we're honest, we as sports fans love those stories, too. We love them because more often than not they're about determination, will and a never-give-up fight.
There is no shortage of those stories. Last week, we detailed the story of Jocelyn Stanley, wife of WSU assistant football coach Ted Stanley, who died shortly after giving birth to the couple's daughter, Emmerson. Now, we're telling the story of Kyhaunn Woods.
We're all too familiar with the stories of Brian Piccolo, Lou Gehrig, and other athletes whose lives were cut short by disease. These stories are inspirational and we love them, but unfortunately, their effect sometimes lasts only as long as the next workplace disagreement or freeway traffic jam.
Even though, as sports fans, these stories mean a great deal to us, perhaps it's just too unrealistic to expect them to instantly change our world.
Perhaps a better way to honor people like Kyhaunn Woods is to do something good this instant.