Hampton HS senior battling rare kidney cancer wants to spread awareness


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – Seth Calhoun, a 17-year-old senior at Hampton High School, is battling a rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer. Despite the diagnosis, he says he will continue to fight. He also wants to spread awareness.

Less than a year ago, Seth says he was healthy and doing all the things he loved, like playing the French horn with other band members.

Then in May, he got the news no one wants to hear. Seth says he started experiencing back pain, then days later he noticed blood in his urine. 

He was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with stage 4 renal medullary carcinoma, also known as RMC.

It’s a rare cancer of the kidney that mainly affects young people of African descent who carry the sickle cell trait or sickle cell disease.

Seth was given three months left to live without treatment.

“It affected me greatly at first; I didn’t know what to do. I was shocked that I even got sick in the first place. Especially this early in my life. So, it did affect me a lot,” explained Seth.

His mother, Shalonde Calhoun, said this particular cancer has a late diagnosis period which makes treatment difficult. 

“As long as there’s something we can do, we’re going to do it,” said Shalonde.

He’s been going through chemo at CHKD while working to finish his high school classes. He reached out to WAVY News 10 because he wanted to bring awareness to RMC. Although the odds are against him, he’s a fighter and says a lot of things push him to stay positive.

“Just staying alive. I think I’m too young to pass away and I still haven’t built my future yet. So there’s no way I’m going to give up,” said Seth.

His mom says they don’t know how much longer they will be fighting RMC, but appreciate all of the community support. 

With the holidays coming up, Seth says he would love to get a chance to play the new PlayStation 5, as playing video games is one of the few things he can still do from the comfort of his home.

As far as bills go, if you’re interested in donating to Seth’s Go Fund Me, click here.

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