Ian Shuttleworth, a senior football star for the Bryant High School Hornets, was awarded the coveted Paul Eells Award during the 2012 Landers Award Ceremony on Wednesday.
The show was broadcast from the studios of KATV Channel 7 and included 13 of the top high school athletes in Arkansas. The award, part of the annual Landers Award presentation, recognizes a football player who overcomes obstacles and displays the spirit of the game.
"I know it's more than just an award for me," 17-year-old Shuttleworth said during the KATV broadcast. "If it was just me that had to go through it, I wouldn't have made it through it. It's a testament to my parents, to all my friends, to everyone that was behind me the whole entire time. It's kind of like a thank you to them, because if not for them I wouldn't have been able to get this."
Shuttleworth was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma on March 23, 2011. In a letter to The Saline Courier, Ken and Janet Shuttleworth said that day was a "life-changing moment" for their son, but he "was determined from the beginning that cancer was not going to win."
"The psychological stress that it puts on you is much worse than the physical (hurdles)," Ian Shuttleworth previously told the Courier. "The way (cancer) makes you feel mentally and how it makes you doubt things is way worse than pain you have on your body. When you're sick, there is medicine, but when you feel sick in your mind and you don't want to do anything, that's the part that hurts the most."
Shuttleworth not only beat cancer, but he continued to attend school and played football, including after-school practice, through all his chemotherapy treatments. His story not only inspired the football team, schoolmates and administrators, it inspired people across Arkansas. Shuttleworth said what inspired him to fight with all his might were the people in his community.
"People always tell me that I was so inspirational to them while I was going through (cancer treatment), but going through that brought out the best in everyone," he told the Courier. "People really helped out my family with physical and emotional needs. All my teammates, the entire school, the families around here, my church, everyone — if my family needed something, they have been there."
In 2011, Shuttleworth was named to the 7A All-Conference team and named to the Arkansas All-State team in 2012.
"Ian is an outstanding representative of the Hornet football team, the Bryant School District, and the community of Bryant," Mike Lee, athletic director for the Bryant School District told the Courier. "We are so appreciative of KATV Channel 7 and all those involved in the Landers Award Show. It is a remarkable story that Ian and his family persevered through. We are very lucky to have Ian here, and we are very proud of him."