University of Colorado student-athlete Kyle MacIntosh lost a long and courageous fight against cancer here Thursday afternoon. A hurdler on the track team, he was just 23.
He was surrounded by family, friends and teammates since he was admitted to Denver’s Children’s Hospital the day after Christmas when he suffered a brain aneurysm. MacIntosh was first diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in December 2013.
“It’s a very sad and tragic day when you lose a young person like Kyle, who is full of life and had such a great spirit,” CU athletic director Rick George said. “Kyle was a fighter and battled every day in his fight against cancer with a philosophy that ‘attitude is everything.’ He was a great inspiration to all of us who had the privilege to know him.”
MacIntosh placed videos online detailing his battle, one particular clip starting out with him saying, “Today, I am going to show you how you beat cancer.” That same video ended with MacIntosh saying, “You can wake up and mope and cry that you have to fight cancer or be grateful you have a fighting change. That’s how I live my live every day, you have to… Attitude is everything.” During his treatments, he still regularly worked out on the track, refusing to give in to the deadly disease.
“The whole team has been talking quietly among themselves for weeks about Kyle’s situation, many going down to visit him,” CU’s head track and field coach Mark Wetmore said. “Everybody was hoping for the best. We received news a day or two ago that that probably wasn’t going to happen. Now the team is going to have to wait it out and remember him for who he was and try to heal.”
“Kyle was a happy, popular, lively young man,” Wetmore continued. “I can’t imagine the sadness of his parents, but I hope they are not totally heartbroken. I hope they can heal, and remember a wonderful son, and someday go back to having a joyful life, which I know he would want for them.”
As a member of the CU track team, MacIntosh earned two letters in indoor competition and another two outdoors. His career got off to a great start in 2010, when he was key contributor on the 4×100 and 4×400-meter relay teams. At the NCAA West Preliminary Championships, the 4×100 relay ran the eighth fastest time in CU history (39.91), the fastest time run by the Buffaloes since 2008. The team placed 12th overall and automatically qualified for the semifinals at the NCAA Championships, where they ran a 40.35 but did not advance to the finals.
His best season with the Buffs was in 2012. During the indoor season, MacIntosh led CU in the 400, recording the top two times. He placed second at the Air Force Team Challenge, crossing the finish in 48.59, and was fifth at the Husky Classic two weeks later (48.70). At the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) indoor championships, he helped the 4×400-meter relay to a seventh place finish (3:15.50).
MacIntosh ran the 400-meter hurdles and the 4×400-meter relay for the Buffs during that outdoor season, racing his personal best time (52.20) at Mt. SAC Relays. At the Pac-12 Championships, MacIntosh advanced to the finals in the 400-hurdles, where he finished sixth in a 52.38 clocking. He also helped the 4×400-relay to a fourth-place finish (3:09.64).
In 2013, the Littleton High School graduate only competed for the Buffs during the indoor season. He competed at three meets, focusing on the 400. He recorded his season-best time of 49.77 at the Tyson Invite. At the MPSF Championships, MacIntosh finished 28th with a time of 50.00 and helped the 4×400 relay to a seventh-place finish (3:15.37).
He redshirted the 2013 outdoor season, as he planned to compete outdoors in 2014, but his athletic career was put on hold after the cancer diagnosis.
At Littleton High School, MacIntosh recorded the school record in the 300-meter hurdles (37.58). He won the 2009 state championship in the event with LHS claiming the 5A team championship. During the 2009 indoor season, MacIntosh recorded three top-10 U.S. marks in the 60 hurdles, the 200 and 400. He was an All-State honoree as a junior and senior and was a member of the All-State Academic team and Honor Roll at Littleton.
He was born on July 10, 1991 in Denver. He is survived by his parents, Bill and Nancy MacIntosh, his sister, Kendra Daniel, a brother-in-law, Roger Daniel, two nephews and a niece. He was majoring in Communication at CU.
Buffs4Life, an alumni organization created to help CU athletes in need, set up website to help his parents with the medical expenses. People can still donate at www.buffs4life.donate.dojiggy.com.
Details of a memorial service are pending. (We will update on CUBuffs.com as we get more information.)