D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - A person’s strength is often defined by who they are when times get tough. For D’Iberville girls soccer coach Paul Langham and his family, that began last January - when Paul was diagnosed with colon cancer.
“We’ve been dealing with chemo ever since, basically every other week,” Paul said. “It was a rough year, and then COVID hit, and that was another obstacle. A lot of things intertwined together to make it probably the worst year of my life, personally and professionally.”
During chemo weeks, Paul said he’s sometimes too sick to go to work. And yet, he didn’t miss a single game the entire season.
Even if it meant carrying a chemo bag during the game, or going directly from the hospital to the sidelines.
“One of the moments that I’m never going to forget is watching him come out of chemo, literally walking out of the chemo chair, and getting in the car and driving straight to the soccer field, standing there on the sideline coaching a game. I don’t know how he did it,” Paul’s wife, Leslie, said. “I secretly was sitting in the stands, praying that he was feeling okay, and that nothing crazy was going to happen.”
Paul’s passion for soccer clearly runs deep - he’s been a coach for as long as he and Leslie have been together. His determination to continue to do what he loves, despite a non-stop fight off the field, is a true inspiration to the people he loves so dearly.
“Like my mom said earlier, to get up from a chair and go straight out to a soccer field,” Paul’s son, Joseph, said. “I don’t know how to put that into words.”
“How much more can this man give?” Leslie said. “He’s given himself physically to combatting cancer. But also emotionally to the girls, who can’t play a game without him.”
Just as Paul’s strength inspires those close to him, their admiration comes full circle, and gives him the strength to keep fighting.
“My sons and my wife have really supported me through all this. It’s hard to put in words. Without them, I don’t think I’d make it this far,” Paul said. “My parents live not too far north. My brother is in Gulfport. My sister is just outside of Hattiesburg. Younger brother is up in Massachusetts, so I don’t get to see him as much. But it’s wonderful to have someone to lean on. Without them, it would be impossible to get through this.”