Former Valencia baseball player shows strength in battle with cancer
Former Valencia baseball player Chad Bible was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in January. His final chemo treatment was on July 27. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
By Mason Nesbitt
Saturday, July 15th, 2017

Like clockwork, in a private batting cage in the back of an industrial-park building, Mike Bible picks baseballs out of a bucket and places them on a tee for his son, Chad.

First, chest high, then, like a crafty pitcher, low and away.

Each time, Chad levels a metal bat on the ball with less than optimal strength, but with more precision than ever.

After 30 or so hacks, Mike exits the cage. Chad crouches.

By the end of this session, which will last all of 13 minutes, Chad’s back will hurt. Heck, it will all hurt.

Chemotherapy has stolen a lot from the Valencia High graduate: a season of baseball at San Diego State, a semester of school, strands of his hair.

But he’ll be darned if treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma takes the precious minutes that come twice every couple weeks, before his energy is zapped, before life consists of sleep and vomit, before all he wants is a foot rub.

For now, he swings.

A pitching machine beeps and the bat thwacks.

Minutes later, the right-handed hitter calls for just two more. He laces one the other way. He blasts one up the middle.

He waits on a third. It feels his wrath.

“You came on a good day,” he says to a visitor. “This is the best I’ve done, probably.”

The hope, of course, is that the 21-year-old’s best days lie ahead – as he continues to pursue the game he refuses to leave behind.

To hell and back again

The 45-mile drive from Santa Clarita to City of Hope hospital in Duarte is usually silent.

Chad settles into the passenger’s seat, reclines and rests on a pillow.

He tries to sleep or listens to music. Nothing particular.

His body knows the day (every other Thursday) and the time (he arrives around 8 a.m.), as seen in the vomit that comes before treatment even begins.

On each visit since Feb. 23, Bible has received four IVs of chemo to combat the stage 2B Hodgkin’s lymphoma he was diagnosed with in January. He sleeps for most of the three-and-a-half-hour infusion.

“Thank God,” he says.

After treatment, the next few days are foggy. Bible sleeps and throws up, vacillating between bed and couch.

 

Chad Bible made a name for himself playing for Valencia High. Signal file photo

By Tuesday, some strength has returned. He drinks coffee and eats bagels and eggs. He spends time with his girlfriend. He reads books like “The Science of Hitting” by Ted Williams.

If he feels up to it, he heads for the batting cage with Mike later in the week. If not, he lets the weekend pass.

By the time the next treatment rolls around, he feels as normal as possible. Then…

“The chemo half kills you,” Mike says. “You try to recuperate from it, and right when he’s starting to feel like it’s not an effort 24/7, you have to go through it again.”

In a far lesser sense, Bible already knew the challenge of starting over.

After pummeling high school pitching at Valencia High, Bible earned a scholarship to perennial Division 1 power Cal State Fullerton.

It became clear in his first fall, though, that it wasn’t a fit. Bible didn’t see eye to eye with the coach, and after redshirting in the spring, he decided to transfer back home to College of the Canyons.

Says COC baseball coach Chris Cota, “He was going to prove that he belonged at a Division 1 school.”

Bible did.

He led all California community college players in home runs (15) and RBIs (61) in 2016 and quickly caught the eye of San Diego State coach Mark Martinez.

A strong fall with the Aztecs earned Bible a spot as the team’s left fielder and cleanup hitter, but all was not well.

Bible had noticed a lump near his collarbone in May 2016, but tests didn’t reveal anything. After arriving in San Diego, lumps appeared at the base of his neck. Then one large lump formed under the right side of his jaw.

Chad Bible reaches over the wall to make the catch of a would-be home run against L.A. Mission College at COC in 2016. Dan Watson/The Signal

On Jan. 10, sitting in the team doctor’s office, Bible received the diagnosis.

“She gets in the room,” he says, “and I’m obviously nervous. She says, ‘I’m just going to come right out and say it.’”

The doc’s lips kept moving. Bible heard nothing after lymphoma.

Pressing on

Attending class and playing baseball for the entire spring wasn’t realistic. But Bible pressed on as far as he could.

Amid rounds of chemo, he managed two pinch-hit at-bats, the latter a sure double that he attempted to stretch into a triple.

Thrown out, his teammates climbed out of the dugout to congratulate him.

“My proudest baseball moment,” he says, adding that he’s determined it won’t be his last, no matter how long the road back.

Despite being in remission since his eighth round (Hodgkin’s responds relatively well to chemo), doctors prescribed four more treatments to make sure all the cancer was out.

“It was a relief (to be in remission), but it was also like, ‘God, I have to go through four rounds of this?’” Bible says. “It’s tough getting that treatment when there’s nothing left in there.”

A scan is scheduled for two weeks after Bible’s final treatment on July 27. The goal, then, is that after the port in his chest (through which the chemo has been administered) is surgically removed, he can begin training at “100 percent.”

He’ll have plenty of rebuilding to do.

Since February, he’s dropped from a muscly 230 pounds to a little under 200.

“I’ll be eating like a crazy person and lifting as much as I can,” he says.

A new perspective

Asked Friday, a day after round 11, how he was feeling, Bible responded via text message, “I feel like I’m dying, man!”

“I’m pretty out of it,” he said, “and yesterday was a grinder, but every second is one step closer to being done, so I’m good!”

Then he said, “How you doing? Everything good on your end?”

Bible hopes to inspire others with play on the baseball field. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

It’s not that Bible didn’t care about people before cancer. He just didn’t always express it.

Now?

“I want to thank my family, my girlfriend’s family and my girlfriend,” Bible says, “and everyone who reached out to me and prayed for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

It’s part of a new perspective, one in which he views life as fragile and baseball as precious.

He wants his play to inspire others: If he can overcome cancer to continue a career, so can others.

“No matter what someone is going through,” he says, “you can always work through it. No matter how tough the situation.”

 

About the author

Mason Nesbitt

Mason Nesbitt

Mason Nesbitt is The Santa Clarita Valley Signal's Sports Editor.

Former Valencia baseball player Chad Bible was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in January. His final chemo treatment was on July 27. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Former Valencia baseball player shows strength in battle with cancer

Like clockwork, in a private batting cage in the back of an industrial-park building, Mike Bible picks baseballs out of a bucket and places them on a tee for his son, Chad.

First, chest high, then, like a crafty pitcher, low and away.

Each time, Chad levels a metal bat on the ball with less than optimal strength, but with more precision than ever.

After 30 or so hacks, Mike exits the cage. Chad crouches.

By the end of this session, which will last all of 13 minutes, Chad’s back will hurt. Heck, it will all hurt.

Chemotherapy has stolen a lot from the Valencia High graduate: a season of baseball at San Diego State, a semester of school, strands of his hair.

But he’ll be darned if treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma takes the precious minutes that come twice every couple weeks, before his energy is zapped, before life consists of sleep and vomit, before all he wants is a foot rub.

For now, he swings.

A pitching machine beeps and the bat thwacks.

Minutes later, the right-handed hitter calls for just two more. He laces one the other way. He blasts one up the middle.

He waits on a third. It feels his wrath.

“You came on a good day,” he says to a visitor. “This is the best I’ve done, probably.”

The hope, of course, is that the 21-year-old’s best days lie ahead – as he continues to pursue the game he refuses to leave behind.

To hell and back again

The 45-mile drive from Santa Clarita to City of Hope hospital in Duarte is usually silent.

Chad settles into the passenger’s seat, reclines and rests on a pillow.

He tries to sleep or listens to music. Nothing particular.

His body knows the day (every other Thursday) and the time (he arrives around 8 a.m.), as seen in the vomit that comes before treatment even begins.

On each visit since Feb. 23, Bible has received four IVs of chemo to combat the stage 2B Hodgkin’s lymphoma he was diagnosed with in January. He sleeps for most of the three-and-a-half-hour infusion.

“Thank God,” he says.

After treatment, the next few days are foggy. Bible sleeps and throws up, vacillating between bed and couch.

 

Chad Bible made a name for himself playing for Valencia High. Signal file photo

By Tuesday, some strength has returned. He drinks coffee and eats bagels and eggs. He spends time with his girlfriend. He reads books like “The Science of Hitting” by Ted Williams.

If he feels up to it, he heads for the batting cage with Mike later in the week. If not, he lets the weekend pass.

By the time the next treatment rolls around, he feels as normal as possible. Then…

“The chemo half kills you,” Mike says. “You try to recuperate from it, and right when he’s starting to feel like it’s not an effort 24/7, you have to go through it again.”

In a far lesser sense, Bible already knew the challenge of starting over.

After pummeling high school pitching at Valencia High, Bible earned a scholarship to perennial Division 1 power Cal State Fullerton.

It became clear in his first fall, though, that it wasn’t a fit. Bible didn’t see eye to eye with the coach, and after redshirting in the spring, he decided to transfer back home to College of the Canyons.

Says COC baseball coach Chris Cota, “He was going to prove that he belonged at a Division 1 school.”

Bible did.

He led all California community college players in home runs (15) and RBIs (61) in 2016 and quickly caught the eye of San Diego State coach Mark Martinez.

A strong fall with the Aztecs earned Bible a spot as the team’s left fielder and cleanup hitter, but all was not well.

Bible had noticed a lump near his collarbone in May 2016, but tests didn’t reveal anything. After arriving in San Diego, lumps appeared at the base of his neck. Then one large lump formed under the right side of his jaw.

Chad Bible reaches over the wall to make the catch of a would-be home run against L.A. Mission College at COC in 2016. Dan Watson/The Signal

On Jan. 10, sitting in the team doctor’s office, Bible received the diagnosis.

“She gets in the room,” he says, “and I’m obviously nervous. She says, ‘I’m just going to come right out and say it.’”

The doc’s lips kept moving. Bible heard nothing after lymphoma.

Pressing on

Attending class and playing baseball for the entire spring wasn’t realistic. But Bible pressed on as far as he could.

Amid rounds of chemo, he managed two pinch-hit at-bats, the latter a sure double that he attempted to stretch into a triple.

Thrown out, his teammates climbed out of the dugout to congratulate him.

“My proudest baseball moment,” he says, adding that he’s determined it won’t be his last, no matter how long the road back.

Despite being in remission since his eighth round (Hodgkin’s responds relatively well to chemo), doctors prescribed four more treatments to make sure all the cancer was out.

“It was a relief (to be in remission), but it was also like, ‘God, I have to go through four rounds of this?’” Bible says. “It’s tough getting that treatment when there’s nothing left in there.”

A scan is scheduled for two weeks after Bible’s final treatment on July 27. The goal, then, is that after the port in his chest (through which the chemo has been administered) is surgically removed, he can begin training at “100 percent.”

He’ll have plenty of rebuilding to do.

Since February, he’s dropped from a muscly 230 pounds to a little under 200.

“I’ll be eating like a crazy person and lifting as much as I can,” he says.

A new perspective

Asked Friday, a day after round 11, how he was feeling, Bible responded via text message, “I feel like I’m dying, man!”

“I’m pretty out of it,” he said, “and yesterday was a grinder, but every second is one step closer to being done, so I’m good!”

Then he said, “How you doing? Everything good on your end?”

Bible hopes to inspire others with play on the baseball field. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

It’s not that Bible didn’t care about people before cancer. He just didn’t always express it.

Now?

“I want to thank my family, my girlfriend’s family and my girlfriend,” Bible says, “and everyone who reached out to me and prayed for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

It’s part of a new perspective, one in which he views life as fragile and baseball as precious.

He wants his play to inspire others: If he can overcome cancer to continue a career, so can others.

“No matter what someone is going through,” he says, “you can always work through it. No matter how tough the situation.”

 

Upcoming Events

Jan
12
Fri
all-day Domes – Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library
Domes – Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library
Jan 12 – May 11 all-day
Domes - Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Local resident Naomi Young, is the artist featured in the latest exhibit at the Old Town Newhall Library. The exhibit features original paintings and multimedia by Young, an artist born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel,[...]
Feb
1
Thu
all-day “The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarit... @ Valencia Library
“The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarit... @ Valencia Library
Feb 1 – Jun 1 all-day
“The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarita,” Art Exhibit @ Valencia Library  | Santa Clarita | California | United States
“THE GOLDEN OAKS OF SANTA CLARITA” ART EXHIBIT BY BRAD SERGI ON DISPLAY AT THE VALENCIA LIBRARY Library hours: Mon-Thu 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. – 5[...]
Feb
14
Wed
all-day Tickets Available Now for 41st A... @ Dodger Stadium
Tickets Available Now for 41st A... @ Dodger Stadium
Feb 14 – May 12 all-day
Tickets Available Now for 41st Annual SCV Dodger Day @ Dodger Stadium | Los Angeles | California | United States
SANTA CLARITA DODGER DAY TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Tickets Start at $25 and Benefit Local Schools and Non-Profits It’s time to step up to the plate! The Santa Clarita City Council invites residents to purchase[...]
Apr
19
Thu
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 19 – Apr 22 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
7:00 pm Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Apr 19 @ 7:00 pm
Hart High School Presents 'Bye, Bye Birdie' @ Hart High school Auditorium | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Spring Musical Coming April 2018! Hart High Theatre is proud to present Bye Bye Birdie! April 19, 20, 27 & 28 @ 7pm April 28 & 29 @ 1pm When the draft selects rock star[...]
Apr
20
Fri
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 20 – Apr 23 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
7:00 pm Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Apr 20 @ 7:00 pm
Hart High School Presents 'Bye, Bye Birdie' @ Hart High school Auditorium | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Spring Musical Coming April 2018! Hart High Theatre is proud to present Bye Bye Birdie! April 19, 20, 27 & 28 @ 7pm April 28 & 29 @ 1pm When the draft selects rock star[...]
Apr
21
Sat
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 21 – Apr 24 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
10:00 am Astronomy Day @ Valencia Library
Astronomy Day @ Valencia Library
Apr 21 @ 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
The Local Group Astronomy Club and The Santa Clarita Public Library present our free annual Astronomy Day Celebration. We will be at the Valencia branch of the Santa Clarita Public Library from 10am to 3pm.[...]
10:00 am Resource Parents Needed to Foste... @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222
Resource Parents Needed to Foste... @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222
Apr 21 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Resource Parents Needed to Foster or Foster-Adopt a Child @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222 | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Adoption is a meaningful way for individuals and couples to fulfill their dream of parenting.  There are approximately 64,000 children in foster care in California.  Los Angeles County’s foster care population exceeds 21,000 children with[...]