You’re never tired when you have purpose.
My father died of cancer at age 59. Mathias Giordano died of cancer at the tender age of 13. And at last report, Leah Still, age 4, is still battling the Big ”C.” My dad loved sports. Mathias loved golf. And Leah’s dad plays for the Cincinnati Bengals. Both my dad and Mathias fought like the dickens. Both lost their courageous fight with this dreaded disease. Leah is still fighting.
Cancer is a cold-blooded killer. Cancer is a calculated, cut-throat contrarian that doesn’t take kindly to losing. And Cancer may not be contagious but it is comparable to a contagion that must be conquered.
And it seems that everybody loves somebody that is living with or is dying of cancer. Cancer is an enemy and an evil, an opponent and the opposite of health and wholeness and happiness and all that life has to offer. Cancer destroys and therefore it must be destroyed.
Meet Devon Still – Defensive Tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals with a promising career ahead of him. His daughter Leah – an adorable 4-year old, recently diagnosed with stage 4 pediatric cancer… and a 50% chance of survival. When Still discovered the news of his daughter’s health last June, his focus shifted – from football to his daughter. He missed minicamp and team activities so he could be with Leah. Without his complete dedication to the team, the Cincinnati Bengals had to cut him at the beginning of the 2014 Season. Devon understood the sacrifice that had to made.
Devon commented, “I completely understand where the Bengals were coming from when they cut me because I couldn’t give football 100 percent,” he mentioned in an ABC news interview. As a dedicated parent, halting his career was a no brainer to Devon, but the results of quitting football, dealt another blow. He was without health insurance. Medical expenses, he was told, would easily total approximately $1 million dollars. It was the ultimate “Catch 22”, quit football to tend to his daughter, but quitting football also meant relinquishing the health insurance she very much needed.
Devon’s sacrifice was not unnoticed. Later, in an unprecedented move, the Cincinnati Bengals came up with a touchdown of a heartfelt idea. The Bengals re-hired Devon for the practice squad. This would enable him to be closer to his daughter, support her during her hospital stays and continue to keep his health insurance so that she could adequately be treated.
Meet Mathias Giordano. Mathias’s single personal battle has led to a total team effort. His family recently announced a big win in the local fight against childhood cancer. They gained enough signatures to produce a bill that will provide “Cure Childhood Cancer” license plates in the state of Virginia.
Mathias’ mom, Roya Giordano, wanted to change her license plate to support her son, who was battling osteosarcoma. WUSA9 first reported about 13-year-old Mathias Giordano and his family’s fight to bring about childhood cancer awareness back in October of 2014. The Giordano family started petitioning in August. The goal was to get the 450 license plate applications needed by early November in order to send a bill to the Virginia State Assembly.
With support, Roya Giordano told WUSA on Monday, they received around 700 license plate applications by the November deadline and the number kept growing. Virginia Delegate Tag Greason also got involved and drafted the bill, which he presented to the Virginia State Assembly in January 2015. It’s called, “Mathias’ Law.”
There was a time when the family still held onto hope, but Roya told WUSA9 that the doctors said there is no cure for her son’s cancer.
“We believe that the gold ribbon will be out there and it will be seen. It will allow people to talk about it and it will allow people to talk about childhood cancer, which is a subject that no one wants to talk about… with the ribbon, the awareness will come and we’ll get more funding and with the funding we can get better treatments,” said Roya.
And so with these two examples and many more, sports is sparring back at the canker of cancer because there are many lives, and many young lives at stake. It’s worth the fight, because you’re never tired when you have purpose.