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Thursday, November 30, 2023 at 9:52 PM

Beyond the Field: Fallon Football Star Nick Delgado's Unyielding Spirit

Beyond the Field: Fallon Football Star Nick Delgado's Unyielding Spirit
Nicholas with his sisters, Felicia (L) and Jaidyn (R). Photo courtesy of the Delgado family.

Meet Nicholas Delgado, an exceptional young man with exceptional reams. 

Nick, a former standout football player at Churchill County High School, helped the team take home two state titles in 2018 and 2019. Nick pursued high aspirations and higher education after graduation, fueled by a football scholarship that led him to a small Catholic institution in Aberdeen, South Dakota, Presentation College.

Nick's journey unfolded as he worked to succeed academically, which included making the dean's list three times and being inducted into the Honor Society while pursuing a major in Criminal Justice. Amidst these accomplishments, he also became an EMT and interned with the South Dakota District Attorney’s Office while continuing to play his beloved football. 

Despite excelling academically and athletically, life dealt Nick a challenging hand at the age of 21 when he was diagnosed with cancer.
The first signs of trouble surfaced in December 2022, less than six months from graduation, as Nick experienced distressing medical symptoms initially attributed to a football injury. Despite undergoing sports medicine treatments, the situation escalated until a few months later, Nick started coughing up blood.

His mother, Christa Delgado, rushed to South Dakota upon receiving Nick's distressing call. “We knew then this was not a football-related injury,” she said.

Medical examinations revealed over 150 tumors in Nick's lungs, along with a sizable abdominal tumor causing intense back and leg pain. The subsequent tests brought uncertainty as the doctors struggled to identify the specific cancer type.
Nick's resilience shone through as he graduated with his class on May 6, 2023. 

After graduation, he and Christa set out for home, arriving in Fallon on May 9, Nick’s birthday. On the heels of a long and painful journey, Renown Medical Center doctors began an extensive battery of tests, telling Christa, “We will do what we can to keep him alive.” 

Despite the grim circumstances, in August, he underwent radiation therapy to address tumors in his brain, as the two previously discovered tumors had grown to four. 

Nick is currently undergoing his fifth round of chemo, each round requiring five days in the hospital and treatments that last 12 hours.
On October 6, Nick had another surgery in San Francisco, where surgeons removed the abdominal and primary tumor. “The pathology came back great,” Christa said, “It all came back as benign germ cell tumors.”

But the buoyed optimism did not last out the month. Nick’s tumor markers more than doubled between October 16 and November 1. Tests revealed the emergence of new tumors, prompting the need for a stem cell transplant scheduled at UCSF, which will take place over 2-4 weeks. 

Amidst the medical battles, Nick's family has found solace in small victories. The Northern Nevada Children's Cancer Foundation, which operates similarly to Make a Wish, facilitated fulfilling a couple of Nick's bucket list items, including being flown with his family to Minneapolis to watch his favorite NFL team, the Minnesota Vikings, play. “He is getting to take two of his best buddies that graduated with him, Trey Brooks and Tristan Rodarte,” explained Christa, who said NNCCF is also sending him south to fulfill another dream - attending a Golden Warriors game in Las Vegas. 

Nick’s condition is not curable, but it is potentially manageable. The Delgado family expresses gratitude for the overwhelming community support through a GoFundMe page and fundraising events. “We definitely want to thank everyone,” said Christa. “It really breaks and melts my heart. The outpouring has been incredible, and there's so much in knowing that there's so much help available if we need it. And in knowing that we have everybody praying for him.” 

Looking ahead, Nick remains optimistic about his dreams in criminal justice. While his initial plan of working with the Grand Junction, Colorado, sheriff’s department, and the U.S. Marshals office has been shifted off track, he has high hopes for his future. Nick is hoping for an intern position with another district attorney’s office or other legal entity that will allow him to utilize his degree.

Nick's journey, captured in his positive attitude and contagious smile, reflects a spirit determined to make the most of every moment despite the uncertainties that lie ahead.

The Delgado family also wants to thank Victor and Lorena Sanchez of La Fiesta, for all donating their Thursday profits to help with Nick's medical expenses until December 14. Also, to Fallon Theatre for the special movie night on November 30, featuring Nick's favorite movie. See details below.