Last March, Delmar senior Seth Hitch was having a yearly checkup done when a tumor mass was found in his heart. His doctor told him that if the mass grew anymore it would have to be taken. In June, Hitch and his family were told that the mass had grown and that he would have to have open heart surgery.
“At first it scared me a lot because I’d be missing a lot of school,” said Hitch, who had the surgery on Aug. 7 before undergoing six weeks of recovery. “I realized that everything happens for a reason and that it was going to be all right.”
Although he didn’t want to miss any games during his senior year, Seth returned to the soccer field a couple weeks after missing three games. He had to take things slowly, both when he came back to school (he couldn’t carry his backpack at first) and in his return to playing.
“I felt fine but I knew I had to take it slow,” Hitch said. “Everything feels normal now, I’m back to doing what I want to do.”
“It’s an incredible story. When you’re a competitor it’s hard (sitting out),” said Delmar High principal Mike Bleile, a former Seaford athlete and Delmar coach. “The young man’s a fighter. We’re very proud of him at Delmar.”
“We’re glad he’s all healed up and ready to go,” Delmar varsity boys’ soccer head coach Gavin Townsend said of Hitch, who has scored four goals for the Wildcats so far this season. “That just shows the kid loves to play soccer.”
Along the road to recovery, Seth received a lot of support from his friends, family, and the Delmar community. “I’ve gotten a lot of prayers. I’m thankful to the community for their prayers,” he said. “My friends were very helpful. They helped me through it.”
Hitch is also thankful to parents Stacy and R.J. Hitch along with his sister and grandparents for being there for him.
“They’ve been really supportive,” said Hitch. “They were always there whenever I needed them.”
“This is a family to us. In a small community like this we get word of everything that happens outside our four walls,” Bleile said of the Delmar School District’s support of Hitch during his surgery and recovery. “We were definitely pulling for him and rallying behind him.”
“Everybody (on the soccer team) tried to stay in touch, keep his spirits up,” said Townsend. “He’s a tough kid, that’s for sure.”
In addition to soccer, Hitch is involved in the following clubs and organizations: Key Club, National Honor Society, lacrosse, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Business Professionals of America (BPA), marching band, Science Olympiad, and Math League. Seth, who takes AP classes and classes at Wilmington University, is one of the top students in his class. He wants to become a math teacher and has Salisbury University as one of the top schools he is looking at attending. Right now his focus is on the soccer season.
“I feel like we’re going to make it to the playoffs,” Hitch said. “This is our best year and the most confident we’ve been.”