High school basketball coach inspires as he battles rare brain cancer

TRAFALGAR, Ind (WISH) — A local man was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, but what he did next may surprise you.

Instead of retreating and seeing this as the end, 64-year old Cecil Giles decided he was going to live his life to the fullest regardless of how much time he has left. He picked up a job as an assistant basketball coach at Indiana Creek High School. 

Giles is battling glioblastoma, but the last thing he wants is sympathy.

“They gave us 12 to 14 (months to live) 18 months ago. So, we’re doing good,” Giles said.

Those are strong words coming from a man who often times feels weak. Along with chemotherapy and radiation, Giles wears a cap and carries a battery park to keep the cap going at least 18 hours a day.

“They send electrodes through my brain. It’s to keep the tumor from growing or coming back,” Giles said. 

After being diagnosed with brain cancer, Giles turned to his faith. 

“I said, ‘God, let me find something to do to make my life feel like I’m doing something to help somebody or something worthwhile,'” Giles said. 

The next day, he bumped into Drew Glintzer, Indian Creek High School’s head basketball coach. 

Glintzer said, “I walked over to him (Giles) and I said, ‘Hey, Cecil, we’d like to have you,’ and he said, ‘What time do you want me to be there?'”

In addition to coaching, Giles also stays on top of stats, acts as a team motivator and helps wherever he’s needed. Most impressive to the head coach, however, is Giles’ dedication. 

“He calls me from chemo and says, ‘Hey, I’m trying to get out here quick as I can.’ I’m like, ‘It’s alright Cecil. We’ll be all right. You can be a little late. We’ll be here,'” Glintzer said. 

Giles said his last MRI showed some growth in his tumor; however, Giles said he is confident doctors have it under control.

“I’ve got a great life. So, I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I’ve got a great life and God is very strong in my life,” said Giles. “The most fun is being around the boys and basketball because I’ve always been a basketball junkie.”