LONOKE, Ark. — In 2022, being a teacher, coach and a dad can feel like a battle at times. However, for Lonoke’s Dakota Weatherley it was his dream.
Then he unexpectedly found himself in a battle for his life following his diagnosis in March of 2020 while coaching at Paragould.
“That’s when I was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma," Weatherley said. "From there, I had some influence from my old football coach. He gave me some motivation to kind of figure it out.”
Harding Academy head baseball coach Shane Fullerton organized a socially distant prayer group for Weatherley and his then pregnant wife Kaylee.
“You need to know that there is an army with you," Fullerton said. "Praying for you, fight for you, and it’s not going to go away after today.”
Weatherley even had some motivation from Cardinal legend Jim Edmonds.
“I was like a little kid in Christmas you know," Weatherley said. "I grew up watching those Cardinals," Pujols, Edmonds, and Rolen. That’s one of my baseball heroes right there.”
Much has changed from 2020. After several treatments, Weatherley was pronounced cancer free, but the work is not done.
“Still get treated once a month so I’m going on 20 or 21 treatments since then, but I couldn’t have asked for a better response.”
It’s not just his health that grew stronger over the past two years, so did his family.
“Dad life is awesome," Weatherley said. "Little Avery Kate she is about 19 months old. She’s growing, talking, and loving life. I love it. Dad life is awesome.”