Kyle Vance has always been a motivated athlete.
Whether it be basketball or golf, the Methacton High senior had always been competitive, going up against older brother Brandon, often while the Vance family looked on.
But four years ago, the stakes went up.
Vance’s father Jeff contracted a rare blood disease called amyloidosis, a disorder that is often fatal.
And suddenly, golf became of the utmost importance to Kyle.
“My dad said he loves watching me play golf,” Vance said. “So that motivated me, not only to play golf, but to play as well as I could.”
Vance has never lacked in ability when playing the gentleman’s game.
Beginning at age eight, Vance often played against brother Brandon.
“We built our own bunker in the backyard.” Vance laughed.
But suddenly, it no longer was a game.
Vance quit the Warriors basketball team to focus on golf, and his family, which owned a private business, were suddenly in dire financial straits.
“My mom and dad were real close to losing their business, and we almost lost our home,” Vance said.
But instead of wallowing in pity, Vance pushed to make his game even better.
“Instead of winning by one or two strokes, I wanted to win by four or five,” said the Warriors golfer. “I wanted to play better because I felt my father’s spirits would be lifted even higher.”
Vance has never lacked for accumulating golf hardware.
His list of accolades include winning the Philadelphia PGA Jr. Player of the Year from 2012 through 2014, winning the AJGA championship in 2015 and landing three straight Pioneer Athletic Conference titles (giving the Vance family five straight).
But suddenly the focus was on the health status of his father.
“He was fine, and then one day his legs were swollen and he almost fell over,” Vance said.
A trip to the University of Pennsylvania brought about the diagnosis.
Bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy followed — with limited results.
In desperation, Vance’s father agreed to try an experimental drug.
And the results have been positive.
“My dad’s cell count was up in the hundreds,” Vance said. “The normal cell count is supposed to be in the 20s.
“Now his cell count is back down to around 30, so he’s feeling a lot better. We’re a Christian family, so we’re staying positive.”
And while his dad recovers, Vance has continued to excel.
A recruiting video posted on YouTube drew attention that partly was responsible for Vance getting 20-plus offers to Division I golf programs.
After a visit to Kansas State University, Vance agreed to take his talents to the American Midwest.
“I thought I would get out there and the course would be flat,” Vance said. “But their course was actually pretty hilly.
“But I want to play on the (PGA) tour, and I feel their coaches can get me there.”
Until then, Vance will work on his game, attend clinics and get in whatever practice he can.
He’d also like to avoid any more traumatic events.
“My dad has been through hell and back,” Vance said. “He’s still positive. But that’s his Christian faith.
“All we can do is stay positive, too.”
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