Camryn Armes isn’t a stranger to claiming victory over adversity.
Ever since her days of being a sharp-shooting guard for the Gruver Lady Hound basketball team, Armes has powered through many health obstacles and conquered every one of them.
Now Armes is on her way to claiming victory over her biggest challenge yet and it’s a battle no 19-years-old should ever have to go through.
Instead of enjoying the college life at Mid-American Christian University by continuing her playing career, or hanging with her friends, Armes is fighting for her life after being diagnosed with stage 1 Ewing Sarcoma cancer in late August.
Over the summer, Armes could feel something was not right and noticed a lump on the right side of her ribs. As the lump kept getting bigger, Armes and her family started going through the proper procedures to find out what exactly was going on. After visits to several doctors, that’s when the Armes family found out what they were dealing with head on. It was a cancerous tumor.
“When I found out that I had cancer I was by myself,” Armes said. “My parents were at work, and I just started crying. I had a bad first two to three weeks. I couldn’t figure out why me, and why I couldn’t catch a break. More than anything, the unknown of what this was is what killed me. But once I went to Houston to MD Anderson and found out exactly what we were dealing with and how to handle it I became at peace.”
Armes’ mother Stacie can’t give enough credit to every doctor they saw and how thorough everyone was through the process.
“I don’t think the doctors get enough credit in making the right decisions to get us where we needed to be,” Stacie said. “Everyone we have had along the way have made us feel so important. We felt special and not just like another patient. Mandie Vega at Spearman, Doctor Steven Agle at Dumas, Laura Emmons and Doctor Leonardo Forero at Texas Oncology, and all of the amazing doctors at MD Anderson. They all helped in saving Camryn’s life.”
On Sept. 18, Armes went public about her situation via her Instagram account.
“A post I never thought I would be making,” Armes said. “What a season of life I am in right now and I can’t wait to see how God turns this into good. I look forward to sharing my testimony with others and being a light for people in the midst of my big storm. I hope my story can have an impact on someone else’s life and for that it will be all worth it. Thank you for everyone in my life and all the love I have received! CLAIM VICTORY.”
Armes went through successful surgery getting the tumor removed on Sept. 21, and has started chemotherapy as of this week.
What Armes has taken from those first two to three weeks since receiving the news, on top of feeling helpless and scared to where she is today is absolutely incredible. Armes has turned deep into her faith for a healing hand.
“No matter how hard your battle is, it doesn’t define you and you can a ray of sunshine to everyone.,” Armes said.”
Stacie echoed her daughter’s comment.
“I think we each handle it our own way,” Stacie said. “Her dad Brant handles it his own way on the road. I’m around her a lot more and strong for her. But Camryn is just amazing and so strong. She has stepped up in her faith and she has God with her all the time and a great support system.”
For Stacie, not only were the doctors tremendous, but the Gruver community and the Texas Panhandle were just as important.
“We are overwhelmed with the blessing from those who have reached out and wanting to help or pray for us,” Stacie said. “Gruver is a special place, and everyone here has been there for Camryn. Canadian, Spearman, Stratford, Wellington, Sunray, Panhandle, Vega, Stinnett, and Canyon. We have so much support through friends and all these communities and Mid-American University. Shawna Schulte. “Tatum Tough’s” mom has helped me a lot. We’ve just been truly blessed.”
Despite an unbelievable high school playing career for the Lady Hounds, it came with a price of more than blood, sweat and tears for the 2022 Gruver graduate. The four-year varsity starter, two-time UIL Class 2A state champion and the 2020 state MVP as a sophomore, went through a hip surgery and compartmental surgery just to be able to get on the court. She also had another hip surgery following high school this past summer.
Those surgeries never stopped Armes from being one of the best to wear a Lady Hound uniform and this latest battle isn’t going to stop her from prevailing in life.
Through her faith, Armes started “CLAIM VICTORY” shirts that has caught on like wildfire not only in Gruver but across the Texas Panhandle. Armes is astonished how the shirts have taken off and all the support coming her way.
“It’s been amazing to see,” Armes said. “Strangers have reached out and in support. Gruver has done shirts, had cookouts for me, and have done bracelets. It’s very overwhelming and so humbling.”
Every Tuesday the Gruver faculty from all campuses wear the “CLAIM VICTORY” shirts to show their full support for one of their favorite students in Armes.
Lady Hound head basketball coach Trent Lankford said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Camryn has been through it,” Lankford said. “Two hip surgeries, a compartmental surgery and now she’s going through something that a 19-year-old should not be going through. She should be enjoying college and playing basketball. But what I love about Camryn is that she knows how to fight and how to overcome adversity. She is taking this head on and we’re all so proud of her.”
“The Gruver community has been 100 percent behind her. The support is tremendous, and everyone is praying for her to get through this. What I think is cool, is that every Tuesday everyone on staff gets to wear their “CLAIM VICTORY” shirts for Camryn. That makes me proud to teach and coach in a school system that has that kind of backing.”
Armes’ former Gruver teammates and lifelong friends are still in close contact today and are doing everything they can for her.
Though former Lady Hound standout and now Texas Tech Lady Raider sophomore guard Bailey Maupin has a loaded Division I student-athlete schedule, she always makes time to stay in touch with Camryn.
“It is incredible to see how positive and how strong in her faith she is after everything she is going through,” Maupin said “I don’t know how she does it. We’ve been best friends since we were born, and we talk every day. I’ve been scared and I know she has to, but she has leaned on the lord and turned to her faith. She is an inspiration and I know because of her everything is going to be fine.”
Oklahoma State Cowgirl freshman and former Lady Hound teammate, Brenna Butler, echoed Maupin’s comment.
“It was really scary at first,” Butler said. “We were all scared and I know Camryn was too but after the diagnosis she found a new appreciation and fulfilled herself with faith and family. For all of her friends, it’s awesome to see how she is handling everything. When we talk, she is so calm and confident, and it makes us all feel that everything is going to be OK.”
Armes’ Mid-American Christian head women’s basketball coach Hannah Moeller has also been there every chance she gets.
What’s special, is no matter what, Moeller will keep Armes on her athletic scholarship promised to her when she signed at the school and that will never change. Moeller even has big plans for the Armes family come November.
“We adore the entire family,” said Hannah Moeller, who is in her eighth season as the Mid-American women’s head basketball coach. “I wasn’t prepared for that phone call when they told us the results. We told the team the next day and what I love about Camryn the most is she’s a natural leader. Everyone respected her so much already. In 14 years of coaching at the college level this is the most unprepared I was at balancing loving Camryn and supporting her while also make sure players in the locker room are good too.”
“Up to this point it’s been mostly game-planning for what we want to do for Camryn. But the entire campus has purchased the “CLAIM VICTORY” shirts. All sports teams on campus have them. But we can’t wait until Nov. 10. We are having “CLAIM VICTORY” night. We host a tournament classic every year and the entire classic is in Camryn’s honor.”
All proceeds from Mid-American Christian’s tournament in November will go to the Armes’ family.
Armes will continue chemotherapy treatments every two weeks until April and is expected to make a full recovery.