Mackenzie Walters-My Story of Redemption

The summer of 2009 was like no other. My bow was shooting as sweet as ever thanks to all the practice we had logged that summer. The food plot was set and ready for me to knock down a dream buck. The only thing left was the wait. The season would be here on Saturday only something else happened that Saturday that changed my life forever. I found myself becoming sick at the Friday night football game. I figured it was another round of pneumonia like before. I couldn’t get myself out of bed Saturday morning alone get up and hunt. I managed to get myself to the couch so I could watch college football for the day. After my team had won, I called my mom to take me to the emergency room as my husband was sleeping from working third shift. I was sicker than I had ever been in my life. The ER doctor didn’t feel any treatment was necessary and I was released with the recommendation to follow up with my family doctor come Monday if I didn’t feel better. I sweated through my clothes the rest of the weekend. Monday came and I had to call off work which never happens. I went to my doctor thinking it was a round of antibiotics and I would be on my way. Little did I know it would be a trip to the hospital.

The Doctors discovered a large tumor in the middle of my chest, and the hospital confirmed it.  The first thing my doctor did was ground me from my treestand since the tumor was likely impeding my breathing. I was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and began treatment within weeks of falling ill. I tried to hunt with a crossbow from a ground blind but I was just too weak to brave the elements. It tore me up for my husband to be hunting without me but I knew we could use the meat and the time alone was probably good to allow him to process everything that was going on. In April of 2010, I was already in remission thanks to twelve rounds of chemotherapy. My doctor had cleared me to return to the woods for turkey season but I was a little apprehensive about using my twelve gauge because my port was still in the right side of my chest. We went out several times with the crossbow without any luck. My doctors decided I needed seventeen radiation treatments due to the large size of my tumor. I was through all sessions of chemo in mid-June. As soon as I got home from my last treatment, I took my bow out of its case and started shooting again. The wait was on again. One evening in early October, I headed off to one of my favorite stands. Within minutes I could see a deer about one hundred yards away. The deer gave me just enough time to say all my prayers before it had closed the distance. Here was a nice young deer within twenty yards. I stood up in the stand and pulled back my bow. The deer didn’t know I was there. I steadied my shot and had it within my sights. I released the arrow and heard that magical sound. It was a complete pass through. I called my husband to let him know I had taken a shot and already found my arrow. We began tracking the deer and when we came upon it I began crying tears of joy. I had found redemption for the season lost. I knelt to the ground, said a prayer, and shouted thank you to The Lord. It was an emotional time that most people wouldn’t understand but I felt blessed for the opportunity.

mackenzie walters

Photo Credit: Mackenzie Walters


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