REDDING, Calif. - Who knew getting injured by a runaway bull at a rodeo would actually lead to a cancer diagnosis? Paige King didn’t think so.
The 25-year-old from Redding, California, said she took a trip to the local rodeo with her boyfriend back in May.
King said during the last run, a bull broke out from the arena and was on the loose among spectators.
"I looked to my left, and then all of a sudden, I look right back, and he’s [the bull] just coming right over the barrier right on top of us," she continued.
King said she doesn’t exactly remember what happened next.
"I end up going to the ground, and all I can really remember after that is him [the bull] just picking me up," she added.
King said she didn’t notice pain at first but her back eventually started to hurt. She said she believes the runaway bull’s hoof scraped her back leaving her with scratches, bruises, and fractures— which have now healed.
But that was only the beginning of her medical journey.
King said while getting checked out, doctors noticed a lump in her throat.
She was then diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
"I was just kind of taken back in shock. I couldn’t really tell what was happening, so I just kind of shut down a little bit," she said.
King then met with doctors in Houston, Texas. Doctors told King her cancer was in Stage 1. However, they’re not sure if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and won’t know for sure until she has surgery to remove the tumor.
As of now, King said she doesn’t think she’ll need chemotherapy.
"I’m just trying to be as positive as possible and take it day-by-day at this point," King said.
King says she credits the bull and the rodeo for saving her life.
"If I hadn’t gone, I would’ve never found that [the tumor]," she said. "I’m very happy that it happened but at the same time, it’s crazy!"
"It’s something no one would ever think would happen," she continued.
In an ironic, maybe comical, twist of fate— King cleans houses for a living and came across the bull, named "Border Crisis," at one of her client’s ranches.
"I ended up getting a picture with him," she said with a laugh.
King said she will continue to attend rodeos as she has done her whole life. She has set up a GoFundMe page to help out with medical and travel expenses.
"It happened for a reason— like my mom said— so if nothing bad happened...why not?" she said.
King said she holds no ill will against the rodeo— or the bull.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.