Former ECU football player loses battle against cancer

A former ECU football player has lost his battle with colon cancer.

Friends say Luke Boyd passed away last night at Vidant Medical Center.

The 37-year-old played for the Pirates in 2003 and was a former Navy rescue swimmer. He was diagnosed with cancer this summer while in Arizona during a trip for his job as an air rescue training instructor.

The father of three young girls had gone into the hospital for surgery at Christmas.

Boyd's funeral will be at 2:00 p.m. Friday at First Christian Church in Greenville.

A scholarship fund has been set up for his children. Donations can be sent to:

First Christian Church
2810 East 14th Street
Greenville, NC 27858

Checks should be made out to the Boyd Scholarship.

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A former ECU football player says he is optimistic even though he was recently diagnosed with stage four colon cancer.

Luke Boyd underwent another surgery on Tuesday at Vidant Medical Center, where he's been a patient since last Friday.

He played for the Pirates in 2003.

The 37-year-old Boyd lives in Greenville, but had traveled to Mesa, Arizona earlier this month for his job as an air rescue training instructor.

It was there that the former Navy rescue swimmer was diagnosed with the cancer on July 3rd.

So far he has had four radiation treatments, and is expecting another 25. He has tumors on his tailbone, colon, vertebrae, and throughout his hip.

Boyd wanted to share his story so he could warn others- once you start thinking something could be wrong- do not wait to get help.

Boyd says he started having problems in May of 2013. He says, "The back spasms that wouldn't go away, low back problems, I couldn't stretch out or do anything, my hip would flair up and then act like it wasn't going to hurt anymore."

Boyd endured that pain until finally going to the hospital July 3rd when he was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer that has now spread to his leg, spine, hip and liver.

He believes it all could have been prevented if he wouldn't have ignored the symptoms last year. He says, "If I would've gotten the treatment then, if I were to tell them 100 percent of the symptoms they would've picked up on it."

He says those symptoms were warning signs, and he doesn't want others to miss the same thing.

"I've already beat this, it's just a matter of getting through it," Boyd told us from his hospital bed at Vidant. "I've gotta keep myself from being frustrated, because that's the only thing is going to keep me back. I've already beat this, when am I going to get there?"

Doctors have told Boyd there have been success stories, that others who are older and not as physically fit have survived. The father of three girls is hoping he can transition to home treatment by next week, but says it is going to be a long process.

Friends of the Boyd family have set up a fund to help them with the growing medical expenses. You can click here to contribute.