Beat The Streets - New York City Wrestling

Joseph Roy, BTS and Edward R. Murrow wrestling alumni, began his freshman year at Johnson & Wales this past fall. In the classroom, he was pursuing culinary arts, as well as some basic math and science requirements. In the wrestling room, he was showing up everyday, practically forcing a place for himself on the team through sheer determination. "loved every second of it,said Roy. He was always happy to be in the room and loved everything about it.  

Beat the Streets had previously written an article on Joseph Roy titled "Hard work Pays: BTS Alumnus Joseph Roy Wrestles at Johnson and Wales." The article, which was published in December, told the story of how Roy found a place on Coach Lonnie Morris' wrestling team through pure determination and hard work. Though Roy didn't initially make the team, he came back the next day. Coach Morris, Head Wrestling Coach at Johnson & Wales, recounted the following about Roy: "The kid doesn't have quit in him. When I tried to cut him, he kept coming back. He'd say 'I'll work on the side!' Other kids quit." As the initial article stated, Roy "poured his heart into practice, and stayed late to ask questions as well as do extra drilling." Roy's efforts impressed the team and the coaching staff at Johnson and Wales, and eventually won Roy a spot on the team. 

While Roy was enjoying school and wrestling, he had a life-altering practice in late December. During a practice run, one of his teammates happened to "hit [him] really hard in the jaw," which resulted in swelling.  The swelling then became something that seemed like a bad toothache, resulting in Roy's visit to Rhode Island Hospital to get the tooth extracted. The surgeon noticed that something was wrong and asked to do a biopsy. By the beginning of January, the osteosarcoma was found. The cancerous bone tumor was found to be local to his jaw, specifically the right side. 

As soon as Roy got the diagnosis, he had to put school on hold. Fortunately, Johnson & Wales has put Roy's scholarship on hold, as well. Roy returned to New York and had his first day of chemotherapy on his birthday, January 26, to see if the tumor would shrink. Instead, the tumor "became huge like a softball." Two more rounds of chemotherapy were tried before emergency surgery was deemed necessary. On March 14, 2017, Roy was subjected to an intense 12-hour surgery in an attempt to remove the tumor from his jaw. Five hours were spent on removing the tumor and seven hours were spent on reconstructing Roy's jaw. Following this ordeal, Roy's team of doctors were hoping he'd be cancer free and ready to start school in September. Unfortunately, by April 21, tests had come back to show that Roy hadn't yet won the fight. Chemo and radiation were started again. 

Roy finished what is hopefully his last round of radiation on June 27,2017. Though chemotherapy and radiation have taken a toll, the tumor has also shrunk immensely. He has to wait until late July, after the treatment side effects subside, in order to have an accurate scan. At the time of his interview, Roy only had one more round of chemo to go. Roy's doctors  are hoping he'll be able to return to school by early 2018.   

Coach Morris frequently keeps in touch with Roy and his family. Morris tries to call Roy a few times a month, as well as email Roy and his mother. "[Roy is] still battling like ever. He's gone from 175 lbs to 145 lbs. This puts wrestling in perspective."   

"I just want to see him come back to school," said Morris. Morris even proposed that iRoy makes a full recovery, a challenge can be made to the NCAA to give him another year of eligibility. "Ideally, the goal is to see him back in the wrestling room and back to wrestling." 

Roy also wants to return to wrestling. He wants to finish the culinary program at Johnson and Wales, and one day be able to pursue a culinary study abroad program in Germany through Johnson & Wales. In terms of his goals, outside of returning to wrestling and continuing to pursue his major, Roy would like to open his own restaurant one day. Other goals include eventually being a coach and mentor, hopefully through Beat the Streets. 

Though Roy felt defeated after his surgery, reading the December BTS article "reminded me of who I was... I want to tap back into that." In that vein, Roy wanted to use this article to advise younger wrestlers and his peers to never give up no matter what happens. "When you give up, you lose. Never give up no matter how bad it looks. When you give up, you lose the battle." 

I took each day, each obstacle, as though it were a tournament. This is my opponent. If I win or lose, I need to keep going until I beat it.” 

Roy has many people believing in him. Ken Bigley, PSAL Wrestling Supervisor and BTS Programming Consultant,  and Coach Dariusz Mikolajcak, Roy's coach during his time at Murrow, were able to confirm Roy's history of persistence.  

While recounting his memories of Roy, Bigley remembered being most impressed by Roy's persistence and drive. He described Roy as taking advantage of every opportunity to learn and improve-- "If there was a camp, a clinic, a competition, Joe was there. He didn't let a loss discourage him. Rather, he'd learn from his loss, figure out what he had to work on, and then show up at the next tournament eager to compete and measure his progress." 

Mikolajcak called Roy the most disciplined athlete in Edward R. Murrow athletics history.Mikolajcak spoke of Roy's love for wrestling and said he "could not stress what a hard worker [Roy] is.” 

Roy wants to let everyone know that he's grateful for the support he's receivedThough he hasn't had the energy to respond to everything, he's extremely grateful to everyone who has reached out  

BTSNY looks forward to updating readers about Roy's full recovery. 


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