Meet Shayn Lindquist: Student, Soldier, Cancer Survivor & 2019 Soldier of the Year
Shayn Lindquist is a senior at Central Michigan University and is starting his last semester.
Challenges like being a Specialist in the United States Army.
“It just means standing up for something bigger than yourself,” Lindquist said.
He’s in the Army Reserve. Lindquist was always interested in the military, and it was his stepdad that really helped make his dream a reality.
“He kinda gave me that last little push that I needed to commit and at 17 before I went into my senior year I enlisted,” Lindquist said.
If balancing a military career and term papers wasn’t enough—
“I had just got back from an army competition and I was noticing my vision was a little hazy a little off and I didn’t know what was wrong,” Lindquist said.
It was more than just an eye issue. Lindquist was sent in for a MRI.
“He called me the next day and told me I had a tumor on my brain and it looked like it could be cancerous,” Lindquist said. “I remember I was sitting in my dorm, I heard that call and the only thing I knew to ask was is it cancerous and he just kind of went yeah it looks like it’s cancerous.”
After a biopsy, Lindquist got the call no one wants to receive.
“It was, a very hard thing to comprehend at the time,” Lindquist said.
In March 2017, Lindquist was diagnosed with brain cancer.
I already had a busy schedule and then taking that on too, you just don’t expect that that young in your life,” Lindquist said.
“I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to what I want to do, so I refused to stop going to school, I refused to leave the Army,” Lindquist said.
Not putting his life on hold to beat cancer, Lindquist waited until the semester was over to start chemo treatment.
Taking his summer break to rest, he went back to CMU in the fall right when it was time to start radiation treatment.
“I was driving from here in Mt. Pleasant to Ann Arbor every single morning for three weeks,” Lindquist said.
“So, it’d be two hours there, I’d do my radiation treatment and I’d drive two hours back and then I’d go to class, and the next day I’d do the same thing,” Lindquist said. “Everything I did I just stayed in the moment and focused on what I needed to do and get through it.”
Lindquist did just that and beat cancer.
“I feel great, my health’s great,” Lindquist said. “When I found out it worked it was, I mean me my mom my family everyone we were just, it was a huge weight lifted off our shoulders, just the end of a very bumpy road.”
“Every time I finish one of my challenges I plan my next challenge and I train for that,” Lindquist said.
“Cancer really just puts things in perspective for you, teaches you what’s important in life, once I beat that I decided I just wanted to give back to others,” Lindquist said.
It lead Lindquist to start volunteering, first with the organization Special Days.
“It’s just an amazing summer camp for pediatric cancer patients to go to with their siblings and forget that have cancer for a week,” Lindquist said.
That wasn’t enough for Lindquist.
“Once I went into remission I decided I was going to challenge myself to it, and it turned into Ruck for a Cure,” Lindquist said.
Last year, Lindquist ‘rucked’ 150 miles from Clare to the Mackinac Bridge to raise money for children’s cancer research and Special Days.
“It was awesome, it was one of the greatest experiences I ever had,” Lindquist said.
Now, there might be a close rival to that experience.
Because of his volunteer efforts, one of Lindquist’s military superiors entered him to be named Soldier of the Year.
“When I first got the email that I was a finalist, I thought it was a scam, I didn’t know what it was,” Lindquist said.
So he mentioned it to his commander…
“She was like no I nominated you for that and I was like ‘really why?’ and she ran down the reasons why, and I was really humbled,” Lindquist said.
Lindquist wasn’t just a finalist, he was named Soldier of the Year.
“It was crazy I didn’t know how to like handle it, it was just way more recognition than I thought I deserved,” Lindquist said.
He was flown out to Washington, D.C. for a ceremony meeting both Michigan’s senators and high ranking military officials.
“It was crazy how many people I met, the connections I got to gain from that was really awesome,” Lindquist said.
Now, Lindquist is getting ready to ruck again Saturday.
“Until there’s a cure, I’m gonna ruck,” Lindquist said.
This ruck is just 25 miles, from Alanson to the Mackinac Bridge, but its impact is still huge.
“The pain that I feel rucking is nothing compared to all the kids that are going through cancer right now,” Lindquist said. “I’m just hoping to provide a little bit of inspiration and just a little bit of hope for them.”
To learn more about Shayn’s ‘Ruck for a Cure’ —- click here.
To make a contribution —- click here.