Knoxville sports photographer stays positive after cancer diagnosis

Eminent photographer Jeremy Wiggs is an open book when it comes to his life challenges and his phenomenal talent capturing the spirit of high school athletes, which includes the band and cheerleaders.

His senior banners can be found at high schools across town. It’s taken about 10 years for him to build his high school photography business. He said he had to learn his equipment and take a few classes to become the photographer he is today. Parents and students alike seem to love his sports photography. He has a keen eye for focus and capturing the height of action.

But life is a roller coaster healthwise for Wiggs. He lost nearly 100 pounds first with Weight Watchers then with the use of Mounjaro, a drug used to lower the A1C in Type II diabetics. He said losing the weight made him feel better, but now he’s fighting a cancer diagnosis.

“I’m an open book on Facebook. Most people just post the highlight reels showing how fantastic their lives are, but I like the REAL reels. I post about my weight loss because it might inspire someone,” Wiggs said in an interview.

Wiggs’ wife, Shannon, went on the weight loss journey with him and lost about 65 pounds herself.

Jeremy Wiggs and wife Shannon take a moment to enjoy the outdoors in Hardin Valley Sunday, June 11, 2023.Download Image
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“I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Wiggs said. Wiggs and his wife have become early morning gym people, much to his surprise.

“Never in my dreams did I think we would be early morning gym people! As of today, we are down a combined 133 pounds since January, and both probably healthier than we have been since we met,” he said.

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Now, having lost the weight, he says he’s feeling better than ever, but during a bout with an intestinal virus an emergency CT scan revealed a very small mass on one of Wiggs’ kidneys. He received a diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma just weeks ago.

The survival rate is 99 percent, but he has a fight in front of him.

It seems his main concern is for missing sports events. He said he didn’t want to disappoint any student or parent, but he’ll be missing for a game or two.

Jeremy Wiggs posted a side-by-side photo on his Facebook page showing his nearly 100-pound weight loss. 
Aug. 18, 2023Download Image
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Wiggs said the tumor will be treated with cryoablation rather than traditional surgery.

 “This method would be outpatient day surgery, takes about an hour or so for the doctor. My recovery would be MUCH quicker as well. I would go back every three months for follow-up scans after the surgery for the next two years. I do not need to see oncology for this as this surgery is curative in nature and no chemo or anything would be needed. I’m very lucky.”

The Hardin Valley native has a wonderful attitude. He’s thankful the mass was found so early and is so small.

“I’m very lucky; it could have taken five or six years for this thing to give me problems. I truly believe God was watching out for me. The intestinal virus was brutal, but the CT scan was a godsend, so it’s true that sometimes the worst things lead to the best things. Had it not been for that virus …”

Info: Find Jeremy Wiggs on Facebook.

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