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7's HERO: Small Idaho town of Middleton gathers in prayer circle for teenager battling rare cancer

Lucas Bicandi was diagnosed with jaw cancer when he was a junior at Middleton High. For the past two years, the community has rallied around him and his family.

MIDDLETON, Idaho — 18-year-old Lucas Bicandi was diagnosed with a rare form of jaw cancer in March of 2020 when he was a junior at Middleton High School. The news was devastating for his family and the tight-knit community. Lucas bas been courageously fighting cancer ever since.

Two years later, Middleton is still showing support for this hometown kid. 

"It's really easy when a kid gets cancer, for the community to rally for a month or two months. But, for this to be ongoing for years, and we have the community at our back constantly, that shows the above and beyond in this community when it comes to supporting their own people," Tom Bicandi, Lucas' dad, said. 

Lucas loves sports, and played football and baseball for Middleton High School. That passion had to be put on hold when he got the diagnosis. The cancer was discovered after he had his wisdom teeth removed and his mouth was not healing the way it should. 

"They did the biopsy, and confirmed he had a cancer in his jaw," Alison Bicandi, Lucas' mom, said. "Extremely rare, and the doctors here really hadn't seen or treated it before, so that left a lot of unknown questions."

Lucas said the diagnosis changed things for him right away. He now has a totally different outlook on life. 

"It was really hard, and it took a long time to get where I am now," Lucas said. "It put my life into a different perspective early on, one that I think a lot of kids my age don't really get. It made me appreciate the small things in life a lot more I think." 

The Bicandi family has been supported in every way by the small town of Middleton, Idaho. That support and encouragement has meant everything to them. 

"You know, to be honest with you, the best way to describe it is just overwhelming," Tom Bicandi told KTVB. "I have never experienced anything like we have experienced. The amount of people, teachers, faculty, community members, church members, coaches and even just strangers, people we don't even know that came out to support Lucas and our entire family was incredible. Corn hole tournaments, just being there for us, meals or whatever it may be, they have been there." 

A few months ago, something happened that brought the community together, and truly touched the Bicandi family. Lucas was in the hospital at St. Luke's and things looked dire. 

"Lucas was in a bad spot at that time. The community caught wind of that, and it spread like wildfire," Tom Bicandi said. "The community planned a prayer circle at the Middleton High football field, and got the word out on social media. Hundreds and hundreds of people had shown up for this prayer circle at the high school. The administration opened the facility with open arms, and one of Lucas' football coaches led the prayer." 

The circle was captured in photos and on video. The images of this small town gathering together on the high school football field to pray for Lucas are simply breathtaking. Lucas could not believe what he was seeing from his hospital room. 

"It was crazy, I kind of heard that something was happening at the football field," Lucas said. "But, I wasn't sure what, and when I saw the pictures - I can't even put it into words how awesome it was to see!" 

Lucas' parents Tom and Alison said they were absolutely speechless and overcome with emotion. 

"We got videos and pictures at the hospital, and we heard about it," Alison Bicandi said. "The number of people who rallied and showed up on such short notice, and did this for Lucas and our family, it just goes to show that people are amazing. The power of prayer was truly answered that day, it really did help Lucas, he came through. We just want to make sure everyone knows how thankful we are for it all. They haven't forgotten about us, and they are still praying for us and fighting for us. That says a lot about our community and where we live, and just how grateful we are for them."  

Lucas worked hard to be able to graduate with his class at Middleton High School in 2021. He graduated with a 3.3 GPA. 

His cancer treatment plan ended with a final surgery in Seattle last month. Lucas will now be under close monitoring with scans and appointments, which begin next month. 

Lucas is planning on college in the fall of 2022. He is ready for the next chapter. He said he knows his hometown of Middleton will be there with him every step of the way. 

"I found out really how awesome this community is, and how amazing all the people are in it," Lucas said.    

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