Dylan Witschen was a vibrant young teenage boy with a promising future. He excelled in a variety of sports, was very well liked and had a smile that melted hearts. Dylan’s favorite sport was football.
His speed and tenacity were second to none and #7 was a rising star for Anoka Senior High School. Unfortunately, on an August day in 2008, on the field he loved, Dylan’s life changed forever. After making a routine tackle in practice, Dylan had a seizure, the first sign that something was wrong.
He was rushed to the hospital, and after testing, doctors found a very rare cancerous tumor the size of a golf ball on the right side of his brain. The rarity of the cancer was beyond the scope of local doctors and treatment was recommended at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
St. Jude is a world leader in the study and treatment of childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases. They are funded entirely on donations and have never turned a patient away due to their inability to pay. Any breakthrough in treatment or diagnosis discovered at St. Jude is shared freely with all doctors and medical institutions throughout the world.
Despite receiving treatment at St. Jude for a year and a half, Dylan eventually lost his battle with cancer on June 8th, 2010. Dylan had the highest praise for both the people and the treatment he received at St. Jude, and even though he is no longer physically with us, Dylan continues to be an inspiration for Anoka football. He was an honorary captain for 2010 & 2011, and some say he was the driving force behind the 2011 team’s success. He would have been a senior that year and his teammates dedicated the season to Dylan. They made it all the way to state.
In loving memory of Dylan Witschen, a foundation has been established to provide scholarships to college bound students at Anoka and Blaine Senior High Schools, and to help support the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in hopes of finding a cure for childhood cancer. This was Dylan’s final request.
This scholarship will be awarded to a senior football player who portrays these “7” characteristics:
- COMPASSION~GIVING~TEAM PLAYER~DETERMINATION
- STRENGTH~LEADERSHIP~CONFIDENCE (SWAGGER)
Anoka and Blaine Recipients of the Dylan Witschen Foundation Scholarship
- 2010~Sam Day, Lomumba Ismail
- 2011~Ben Britton, Tony Busch
- 2012~Ryan Rand, Landon Mathis, Eric Mueller, Chase Baumgartner, Kyle Griffin, Travis Weight, Ben Sjodin
- 2013~Ryan Rumpca, Jake McDougle, Devin Blanchard
- 2014~Branton Fleischman, Trevor Hess, Mitchell Giese
- 2015~Nathan Hlavka, Luke Arseneau, Alex Foucault, Nicole Burnham
- 2016~Riley Baumgartner, Chase Miller, Nathan Becker, Jack Menard
- 2017~Caleb Sieben, Dalton Miller, Sam Smith, Maddie Reihe
- 2018~Evan DeChene, Anthony Hagerty, Bradley Phillips, Phillip Cronky, Addison Astendorj
- 2019~Hunter Way, Joey Halter, Scott Springer, Jackson Heckt, Sydney Baumgartner
- 2020~Adam Chapman, Mason Robertson, Michael Ayeni, Lleyton Wicks, Cody Lindenberg
- 2021~David Ayeni, Brennan Wall