11-Year-Old Fights Brain Tumor, Signs With Ferris State Football Team

Posted at 10:15 AM, May 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-11 11:01:01-04

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Keegan Bulk is running around Ferris State’s football field. He’s throwing passes, sprinting into the endzone and laughing with his teammates.

Keegan did not always have this much energy. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor a day before his ninth birthday in September 2010.  He went through six cycles of chemotherapy and 30 radiation treatments to his head and spine.

Two years later and at 11-years-old, Keegan is cancer-free, and a college football star.

Yup, you read that correctly. An 11-year-old football star.

Before Ferris State’s spring football game on April 20, the Bulldogs signed Keegan to a national letter of intent – the same one their athletes sign when officially becoming a part of the team.  Ferris State head coach Tony Annese wanted Keegan to feel as much a part of his roster as his other 95 players.

“Before he signed he looked at us and said, ‘Do I have to sign this in cursive?” Annese said with a laugh.

“Ultimately you win a state championship and it’s more about the kids. What you do is experience a little enthusiasm for their enthusiasm. It was the same thing with Keegan and seeing our kids’ faces. It’s victory at the highest level and just an awesome experience for us.”

After signing his letter of intent with the Bulldogs, Keegan could not stop talking about the team.

Likewise, the Bulldogs could not stop talking about Keegan.

“Hearing his story makes me want to work harder,” said FSU lineman Adam Bennett. “It makes me grateful for what I have.”

Ferris players plan to hang out with Keegan throughout the summer and make him feel as much a part of the team as they are.

“It’s not really a responsibility as much as it is a privledge,” said Bulldogs receiver Austin St. Louis. “The impact that Keegan has on everyone is amazing. We’re really looking forward to having a special year here and he’ll be a part of that.”

Keegan would love to grow up and be a big, strong football player but because of his surgeries he cannot play contact sports. It’s a reality of Keegan’s life, but a dream that the Bulldogs have made as attainable as possible.

“Keegan is so strong. He peps us up and says ‘I got this,'” said Jennifer Bulk, Keegan’s mom. “He says if cancer ever came back he would kick its butt again. He’s always in faith. Always praying. He’s one of a kind.”

The 11-year-old football star had a big spring. In addition to signing with Ferris, May 6th marked the two-year anniversary that Keegan has been in remission for his cancer.

“I couldn’t imagine the things he has gone through,” said Ferris junior Jace Heneveld.

“He’s so strong. Every picture I’ve seen of him he’s got a smile on his face. Hopefully we can add some more inches to that smile.

 FOX 17’s Tara Hernandez has Keegan’s full story in the video player.

For more on Keegan’s charity, “Team Keegan” – or to help other kids fighting cancer click on