HOLLY LAKE RANCH, TX (KLTV) - When the college football season begins in about a month and a half, one East Texan will fulfill a dream. During this exact week a year ago, Ethan Edwards was hospitalized with ulcerative colitis, which is a chronic disease of the large intestine.
"One week it just hit me, and I was not able to get out of bed," Edwards said. "There were one or two times when I got really low. Things just didn't seem like they were working out for me."
The disease caused Edwards to miss out on his freshman football season at Ouachita Baptist University . But the fullback was determined to gain back the near 90 pounds he lost.
"It lit a fire under me," the fullback said. "It made me work harder."
Ethan's high school coach Tim Russell added, "A lot of kids and a lot of people would have just given up and said this is too hard. I am just going to go about my life and and just go through the motions. But not Ethan."
Ethan's first workout on the road to recovery lasted seven minutes, and he was only able to lift 25 pounds. A year later the Harmony high school graduate is nearly back to full strength.
"It has been a long way back," Edwards said. "I feel like God has helped me. I have been blessed to be able to come back from where I was at."
Edward's also deserves credit for clearing hurdles and getting his body back in shape to where he can play football this fall for Ouachita Baptist.
"You might look out there and see a guy that is faster in the 40 yard dash and might be able to bench press more," Russell said. "But you will never be able to find anybody that worked harder to be the best he can be than Ethan Edwards."
Ethan added, "My dreams don't stop just getting on the field. It's also about being one of the best on the field."
The East Texans story does not stop here. Edwards is currently selling watermelons on the corner of Farm Road 14 and 2869 near Holly Lake Ranch in order to help pay for his college tuition.
"My day normally consists of waking up at 5:30 a.m.," Ethan said. "I get to the field by six, I load about 1,000 to 2,000 melons a day. Then I take a break and sell anywhere from four to five hours."
Between fighting back from illness and helping pay his way through college, Edwards is proving fulfilling a dream is possible.
"I have had to go through something that most kids my age don't have to deal with," Edwards said. "So whenever I step on that field for the first time I know I will cherish it, because I know it could be gone in a second."