KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Whether it’s on the sidelines of Neyland Stadium or courtside in Thompson Boling Arena, expect to see James Boofer and his camera. Boofer began his career in 2008 shooting Tennessee basketball at the NCAA tournament. Now 14 years later, his love for photography hasn’t wavered.
While James is working during the games, somewhere in the stands is his daughter, Susan Boofer.
“Since the time I was born, he has taken me to every Tennessee event,” Susan said. “Once you find something you can bond over with your father like this, you fall in love with it.”
Susan describes the Tennessee athletics environment to be a part of her and jokingly says, “maybe even a little too much.”
Like most women in their mid-20s, Susan loves to take pictures. One day while looking at her photos, she noticed the right side of her face didn’t look the way it normally does. She described her face as having a “droopy” look.
“My first initial reaction was, what’s wrong with me?” Susan said.
After waiting a few hours to see if the issue would resolve itself, James and Susan headed to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.
“As soon as I got there, they were wonderful, it was like something out of ‘Grey’s Anatomy,'” said Susan. “The next few minutes were like a whirlwind.”
Doctors rushed Susan into a CT Scan within 10 minutes of her arrival at the hospital. After waiting on the results of the scan the doctors delivered good news – there was nothing wrong with Susan’s brain.
“I started to hop up thinking ‘great, time to go home,'” Susan said. But she was told she was suffering from something entirely different than what they had expected: she had stage 2B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Susan said this was the moment she broke down.
During her first round of chemotherapy last week, Susan and her father were watching the Tennessee basketball game when she heard her name being said by SEC play-by-play announcer, Tom Hart.
“I never asked Tom Hart to do this for Susan, he asked me if it would be okay to give her a shoutout on air,” said James. “I told him absolutely.”
Ever since Susan was diagnosed, she has been feeling an overwhelming amount of love and support. She explains that people she doesn’t even know have been sending her get well wishes and gifts, just because they follow her dad on Twitter.
She says that this indescribable sense of love is what encourages her to fight, and what lifts her up each day.
The Boofers want to express their gratitude to their friends, family, and especially Vol Nation for the immense amount of love they are showing Susan during this time. They also want to personally thank Tom Hart and Jimmy Dykes for the selfless shoutout on air.