Communities Rally Behind BVU Student-Athlete Canyon “Moose” Hopkins as he Battles Rare Form of Cancer

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Communities Rally Behind BVU Student-Athlete Canyon “Moose” Hopkins as he Battles Rare Form of Cancer

Emily Kenny

Emily Kenny

Emily Kenny

Emily Kenny, Editor-in-Chief

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Canyon Hopkins, a native of Earlham, Iowa, is a student at Buena Vista University. Hopkins is also a member of the BVU men’s basketball team. He started and played in 26 games for BVU last season, and was shooting 56 percent from the field for the Beavers. At six feet, four inches tall and 250 pounds, Hopkins was a huge asset for the Beavers.  

On Aug. 23, Hopkins was diagnosed with a rare form of Soft Tissue Sarcoma. He then traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where they confirmed his diagnosis of terminal stage four Soft Tissues Sarcoma – Synovial. There is a one percent chance that a person is diagnosed with this form of cancer.  

On Friday, Sept. 7, Hopkins began his chemotherapy treatment. He is working with a team of doctors from the Mayo Clinic to slow the spread of the cancer. Hopkins will also be having radiation on a tumor in his calf, which is thought to be the origin of the cancer.   

Canyon, better known as Moose, has received a large amount of support from everyone who knows and loves him. His parents, Monte and Trish Hopkins, his brother, Denton Hopkins, and his girlfriend, Chelsea Hildenbrand, who is also a BVU student, have been the heart and soul of his support. Hopkins’ support system has been dubbed “Moose’s Militia,” which you can like and follow on Facebook.  The page will update everyone on his journey.  

People can also follow Hopkins’ journey via his CaringBridge.

Hopkins has impacted everyone who has met him in unique ways. His roommate and teammate, Noah Schmitt, talks briefly about how Hopkins has impacted him.   

“To say he was the life of the party is an understatement,” says Schmitt. “As a friend, there is nobody that can have a good time like Canyon Hopkins. There have been countless times that he has brought me to tears with laughter. And although he is one of the goofiest, most hilarious guys I have ever met, I know I can always count on him to have my back under any circumstances. His character is second to none, as he is usually the first person to console you, offer advice, or go out of his way to fulfill your needs. His personality translates off, but also on the basketball court as he is one of the best teammates I’ve ever had. It’s safe to say in his time at BV he easily won people over with his sly jokes and charming smile, for me, there is nobody more genuine, than my best friend Canyon Hopkins.”

Although Hopkins did not return to BVU this fall as he is undergoing treatment, Schmitt talks about the unwavering memories they have created in their two years together at BVU. 

“From our weekly Friday night dates at The Villager to conversing late into the morning about absolutely anything, the memories I’ve gained from Canyon will last with me forever. For me, every time I see Canyon, that moment could very easily become a favorite memory. He is very good at making a person feel welcomed and can quickly turn any situation into a hilarious moment,” says Schmitt.  

Schmitt recalls his favorite memory with Hopkins. 

“Of all the memories we’ve made I would have to say at the top of the list was dressing up as Mike Eruzione and Jim Craig from the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team, and our favorite movie Miracle, during Halloween our sophomore year,” says Schmitt, “The costumes really embodied our friendship, and although we looked like a couple of big doofuses, there is nobody I would’ve rather done it with than Canyon.”  

Schmitt is not the only one who can recall positive, and endless memories with Hopkins. People have come together from all over to provide support for Hopkins. An upcoming benefit has been scheduled for Oct. 14, in Adel, Iowa.  

Hopkins’ girlfriend, Chelsea Hildenbrand, talks a little bit about what is to be expected at this event and how people can donate and get involved with the benefit.  

“There will be a silent auction, and I believe they will be trying to set up a live auction online as well as doing some live bidding at the benefit, “ says Hildenbrand. “There is a Facebook page called Benefit for Canyon ‘Moose’ Hopkins that people can follow to keep up with the information about the benefit. There are links on the Facebook page to sign up to donate for the auction as well as the various places that people can drop off donations. People who may want to donate but live farther away and don’t know if they will be able to make it to one of the drops off before the benefit can contact Shonna Wolfe who runs that Facebook page and is in charge of the donations. There will also be a meal served at the benefit.”  

The benefit will be held at Barnes Place. The address is 20932 350th St., Adel, Iowa. It will be from 12-6 p.m. There is another Facebook group where anyone can make donations for the silent auction. Monetary donations can also be sent to the Earlham Savings Bank, P.O. Box 426, Earlham, Iowa, c/o Canyon Hopkins.  

Within the Earlham community, there have been t-shirts created that read “Moose Strong,” that are available for purchase. There will also be a t-shirt for sale on the campus of BVU, that will be sold by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. There will be an online order form available as soon as possible, which can be found on the BVU SAAC twitter and Facebook pages.   

Hopkins isn’t alone in his battle, the BVU community, Earlham community, and anyone else who has ever come across Canyon stands behind him. He truly is #MooseStrong.