Blue Ridge High School in Lakeside, Arizona is home to the London family. Dad, Bob London, is the school’s Athletic Director, football coach, and track coach; mom, Denise, is a Swiss army knife around the school and has been with the high school for 8 years now. Son, PJ, is the varsity football quarterback and runs track. The Londons have an army around them and something the community takes great pride in.
“It’s a close community… you have everyone rooting for you. It’s awesome growing up here,” PJ told Sports360AZ.
PJ recently committed to play Division I football at NAU and be a Lumberjack.
“I knew they had a good coaching staff, and it was close to home…it’s the best place for me because I will be close to her (his mom). It was kind of stressful… it’s a four-year decision, but just being able to talk to my family and siblings, and they helped me make the decision.”
The Blue Ridge quarterback wants to study forestry at NAU and get his helicopter license.
Denise is excited that PJ will be close to home.
“Small town, big dreams is what PJ says… we are so excited.. we are like, “YES!” two hours. Our other kids went far to Notre Dame. That was so far…Now, we get to go all the time. We are hoping to see all the games. PJ being close is just peace of mind. ”
Shortly after PJ made his decision, his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Thankfully Blue Ridge has a MOM mobile show up to the school each year to check all the teachers and faculty members with a yearly mammogram.
It was this that saved Denise’s life.
“Thanks to superintendent and Mary getting this MOM mobile and mammogram coming to school…It saves two or three lives just because we are busy and we are doing something, but this everyone has 20 minutes, and we cover each other’s classes to go out there.”
Early last year, Denise caught COVID-19 and was admittedly very sick with the virus when she got a letter in the mail saying that her results came back with some irregularities and they will need to check further. Since she was sick, she didn’t think too much of the letter.
It wasn’t until they sent her another one that it got her attention, and she made an appointment with her regular doctor to get checked.
The results came back, and Denise had stage 1, Class 3 cancer, which is very fast growing.
Mrs. London said she got the news in “AD wife fashion”. She was working a basketball game trying to help set up when the doctor called. She admitted once she heard that she had cancer, she didn’t hear much more.
“It was as if it was like hearing Charlie Brown’s teacher talk,” she said.
Denise stayed positive, which comes naturally to her, and credits her husband Bob for being her rock. Together they found a Dr. in the valley at MD Anderson to help them fight the cancer. She underwent two different lumpectomies.
Both times cancer was still found. The next step was a double mastectomy. Denise underwent the mastectomy on April 11th, 2021, and according to PJ, it was successful! They checked the lymph nodes, and the cancer had not spread!
Happy healing to Denise London. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and thank you to Blue Ridge for having the MOM mobile out each year.
In the words of Denise London,
“Go get checked. It’s so easy. Save a life.”