In Memory Of Stephen Hensor
Sept. 5, 2002
CORVALLIS, Ore. - -
YOU WILL NEVER WALK ALONE
Stephen Hensor came to Oregon State in the fall of 2000 as a talented freshman from Exeter, England. Hensor was a standout midfielder for Exeter City FC, and would be joining the OSU soccer program in the fall for the 2000 campaign as a dynamic midfielder on the youthful, up-and-coming squad.
Many challenges lay ahead for Hensor, as they would for any freshman beginning his or her first term of college. Hensor not only was faced with leaving home, but he would be several thousand miles across the Atlantic Ocean. He would be immersed in a new culture and surrounded by new faces. Add to that the daunting task of balancing practice and game schedules with classes and studying, and the obstacles could seem overwhelming.
Hensor wasn't slowed a bit. Though he admitted to a few cultural surprises, everything was taken in stride. A well-spoken, amicable young man, Hensor formed a bond with his teammates and several deep friendships.
It was soon discovered that on this team, no one walks alone. And soon, too, the challenges were overcome.
Hensor's rookie season saw him start 13 games in OSU's midfield as part of a young nucleus of talent that would soon gel to be an extremely close-knit group. Hensor saw action in all 19 games as a freshman, and had a firm grip on playing time in OSU's midfield rotation.
Three games into the 2001 season, Hensor was continuing the play that earned him honorable mention All-Pacific-10 honors as a freshman. The sophomore tallied his first career score to knot a match with Santa Clara and force overtime.
That would be the last time Hensor took the field in the black and orange.
Hensor did not play in OSU's match with San Francisco two days later. Instead, unable to perform at the level he expected of himself, he would return home to England after battling severe fatigue throughout the summer and fall.
Soon thereafter, the 19-year-old would be diagnosed with liver cancer.
Not only on the field, where his absence was indeed felt, but in the very fabric of the team's unity was left a gaping hole.
A comrade was fallen.
The team rallied around their stricken teammate, and several close friends on the squad made the trip to Exeter, England to spend time with Hensor and his family over the winter break.
In the spring, OSU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee led a unique fundraising effort on Stephen's behalf. Athletes offered themselves on the auction block, with a date going to the highest bidder. Some bids reached upwards of $400. In all, the effort drew more than $3,500 to help Stephen's parents, Susan and Phillip, pay for their son's medical expenses.
More than that, it was the resounding show of support that prompted Hensor to reply with a touching thank you to all who have stood by him - teammates, coaches, fellow students, friends, family, OSU staff and the Corvallis community.
Hensor continued to battle the illness, getting treatment on a regular basis. However, on the evening of Friday, Aug. 30, Stephen became very ill and was admitted to the hospital for treatment. The doctors believed the pain was due to a new medication he had begun taking; however, late Friday night, Stephen slipped into a coma, and passed away.
The men's soccer team wishes to thank the school and the community for its support of Stephen Hensor.
'We will severely miss our friend,' OSU coach Dana Taylor said Wednesday afternoon.
Throughout his battle, Hensor was comforted by teammates and coaches - his friends. He had reassurance that he was, is, and will be in the hearts, minds and prayers of many.
Stephen did not carry this burden by himself, and he did not travel this dark road in the absence of love. He is never forgotten. He never walks alone.