Bob Jones wears colorful bracelets to remind him of his daily fight.
And of his opponent, pancreatic cancer, which he vows to whip.
Each bracelet bears a message, one of which reads, FIGHT BACK.
“Cancer beats you up so bad that sometimes you forget to fight back,” said Jones, Auburn High School’s longtime athletic director and a teacher and coach. “I have to fight back every day. “The other thing that has worked for me is the idea to focus on today,” he added. “I can’t control the future, and it is very stressful to think about whether I’ll be here or not be here.”
Jones has been a part of the community for nearly 35 years as a teacher, coach, mentor and leader. On Saturday the community honors Jones and his many contributions. He will be front and center as grand marshal in the Auburn Days Festival’s grand parade that begins at noon on Main Street.
Jones has been a part of the Auburn High School staff for 34 years, having taught chemistry, biology and human survival for 12 of those years. His career as the athletic/activities coordinator spans 22 years. He coached football for 21 years, 12 of which were at the helm of the Trojans.
He was also a member of the City of Auburn Parks Board for two years. He has served as field manager for the Relay for Life – a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society – for 22 years.
Jones has experienced the importance of cancer research first hand. He has been a warrior, fighting his own battle since he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on Oct. 1, 2013. He continues to undergo chemotherapy every other week indefinitely.
“As of today, the tumors are under control, there are no new tumors, and I am doing pretty well,” Jones said. “Chemo treatments are hard, but I have learned to adapt, and they are a part of my new normal day.”
Despite his plight, Jones is upbeat.
“I learned to just focus on today, to take care of the things I need to take care of today,” Jones said. “As a result, I’m now 20 months into my fight.”