MURFREESBORO – Devin Cairo’s mother, Regina, describes her son as a “quiet mouse.”
Spend time with Devin and you will understand what his mother means. Devin is a man of few words, is laid back and generally soft spoken.
When your actions speak volumes, you don’t have to say a lot.
Devin, a 17-year-old senior at Oakland High School and the son of Bill and Regina (Gilley) Cairo, was disagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin lymphoma in September. He began his first chemotherapy treat-ment Sept. 20 and is scheduled to undergo treatment for the next six months.
Bill and Regina are Woodbury natives and Devin was raised in Woodbury and started his baseball career here prior to the family moving to Murfreesboro.
Within hours of being diagnosed with lymp-homa, Devin’s teammates and classmates had hit social media spreading the unfortunate news. Shortly after, Devin’s parents had the realization of how loudly their son’s character and action has touched those around him.
“We had people and teams come to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital to see him,” Bill Cairo reflects. “Whenever all these people started coming around and we were getting cards and teams were showing up at the hospital, opposing teams, I told Devin, ‘You being as quiet as you are I didn’t realize you had this many friends.’ He said, ‘I’m a pretty popular guy.’ I believe it now because there have been a lot of people reach out.”
Cannon County baseball is amongst those who have reached out to the Cairos. Members of the Lions’ baseball team traveled to Murfreesboro and presented Devin with a Cannon County No. 18 jersey autographed by team members and spent time visiting with him.
“It was a great idea that we did this,” said Jake Todd, whose father, Tommie, and uncle, Jeff, played on the CCHS Baseball team with Bill Cairo in the late 1980s. “Devin’s family is from Cannon County and some of our players played fall ball with him last year. I’m glad we were able to be involved and let him know we are thinking about him.”
Cairo has immense support. In fact, the Oakland High School Baseball Boosters have developed a theme – “Win The Game,” for Devin. Bracelets with “DC 18” and “Win The Game” are being sold to help offset medical costs. Every Rutherford County baseball team and Cannon County has presented Devin with a No. 18 jersey and all of them are proudly displayed in his bonus room, along with signs, balloons and cards, among other items.
“It has provided me with extra motivation,” Devin says of the support. “It really surprised me that all of these people I don’t know have supported me through this. It makes me feel pretty good.”
Bill and Regina were thrilled to see children of people they went to school with while attending Cannon County.
“I’m glad to see Cannon County step up and come to see him,” Bill said. “He grew up in Woodbury and started playing Tee-ball there when he was 5. Some of those players, I’m friends of their fathers and I have strong ties to Cannon County.”
The news of Devin’s condition hit his family hard.
“We though Devin had a cold so we took him to the walk-in clinic,” Regina says. “The lady said she heard something funny in his lungs and they wanted to do an X-ray.”
The nurse didn’t like what she saw and the next stop was on to Middle Tennessee Medical Center for more tests.
“The lady there said the same thing,” Regina recalls. “They did a cat scan and then she came in and said, ‘I’m sorry to tell you this but Devin has lymphoma.’ I told her we didn’t come for lymphoma we came here for a cold. She said, ‘I’m sorry but we have the ambulance en route and he has to go.”
From there, Devin was transported to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital where the process began.
It will be a tough process but, like on the field, Devin is ready to defeat the competition and Win The Game.
The driven young man anticipates being on the field for the Patriots this spring.
“I just believe,” Devin affirms. “I have been playing baseball all these years and I can’t stop now. I figure I might as well get this over with and do these few months and make sure I’m ready in March.”
Devin’s plans are not only to pitch for the Patriots, but also play college baseball one day.
Longtime Oakland baseball coach Mack Hawks believes Devin Cairo’s comeback story will be a successful one.
“We are more concerned with Devin’s health than anything,” Hawks points out. “But I believe he will be back in uniform for us this year because he is driven and has a great desire to beat this and be out there. He is such a good kid with a good family. You can tell that by the manner in which people have reached out and supported him and his family.”
All of the jerseys surrounding schools have given Devin are hanging in his house. All but one are autographed.
The only one not signed is a navy blue jersey with the No. 18 on the back and Patriots on the front.
“That is his Oakland jersey and it is not signed because he plans on wearing it in March – when he pitches for the Patriots,” Regina proclaims.
And that will be the greatest statement in Devin Cairo’s comeback story.
*For those wanting to contribute financially to the Cairo family, a trust fund has been established. To write a check, make them payable to Devin Cairo Trust.
Devin Cairo Trust
attn: Misty Hawkins
2806 Almaville Road
Smyrna, Tenn. 37167
Soon, bank information will be available for those who would like to deposit directly into the account. If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 653-7683.