Sheridan Draz’s future holds a lot of unknowns at this point, but his mother, Katie Draz Campbell, wants to show her son that the community will be by his side through it all.
Draz, 22, is a Minnesota Army National Guard veteran. His mother has been busy planning a benefit in his honor.
“I’m doing this to honor my son, his service and the sacrifices he’s about to make with his human body. That he is loved and not forgotten,” she explained. “Although I do want to raise funds for whatever the future brings, I want to show him that the community is there, they do care, they do appreciate him and they are going to show up.”
Draz is a 2018 graduate of Mahtomedi High School. When he was a junior in high school, he enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard. From October 2019 to October 2020, he served a tour in the Gulf War against terrorism in the Middle East. He served under the 34th ECAB Red Devils in Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield.
In May 2021, a freak leg break resulted in the diagnosis of high-grade metastatic osteosarcoma (bone cancer) that had already spread. The first treatment and surgical intervention were not successful, as the cancer has continued to spread to his lungs, lymphatic system and other bones.
Fast-forward to May 2022, and Draz still has a long road ahead. He has been in and out of the hospital, undergone several rounds of chemotherapy and has had multiple surgeries.
Draz Campbell hopes the community will show up in droves to show their support for the young veteran May 7.
“He is one of the most humble, kind, generous souls I know. I’m not just saying that because I’m his mother. He truly is. That is the definition of Sheridan,” she said.
Two things that Draz is passionate about are dogs and cars, which is why both a car show and K-9s will be a big part of the benefit. Draz Campbell has received permission from all of the businesses that surround the Legion to use their parking lots May 7 for what will be, hopefully, a large car show. In addition to some police and military K-9s who plan to attend, the event will be dog-friendly.
In his free time, Draz enjoys everything automotive: car shows, stereos, exhausts, engine modifications — you name it. He has a passion for foreign cars and German engineering, and specifically enjoys Audis and Volkswagens. Draz also enjoys spending time with his two German shepherds, Ruby and Beau.
“Having the community show up to support him means everything to me and my family,” Draz Campbell said.
Last week, Draz was transported by ambulance to the intensive care unit at a local hospital. According to an update from his mother, he went neutropenic, spiked a fever, and needed blood products due to chemo side effects. He also went into septic shock due to a bacterial infection in his blood. Many of his organs are in active failure.
Draz is scheduled for two more rounds of chemo. He will need to have surgery on one of his lungs, recover, and then go through the same procedure on the other lung. He will also need to undergo a surgery to amputate part of his right leg; however, the decision has not yet been made on exactly what that will entail.
“We are all praying and hoping that this amputation and all of these dramatic surgical interventions are going to be his key,” Draz Campbell said.
To follow Draz’s journey, you can find updates on www.sheridansarmy.com.
Managing Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.