On the heels of National Cancer Survivor Day, several survivors got together to support child cancer research at Toyota Field on Saturday.
Five years ago, 11-year-old Nicolas Ramirez died after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Since then, his parents have been using their son’s passion for soccer to give back.
“Nico loved soccer. He was very talented, very skilled. His dream was to become a professional soccer player,” said. “He was just a really funny, dynamic, active young boy. He was diagnosed with cancer, he used the strength and skill he learned from soccer to cope with the fact he was diagnosed with the disease.”
On Saturday, the family raised more than $10,000 for child cancer research during their Kick Cancer event.
“We thought, what better way to honor Nico and his spirit than with this kind of event,” said. “We wanted to continue telling his story and his legacy. ‘Let’s see if we can pull together a community of friends and organize a camp around soccer.”
Blake Lieberman volunteered at this year’s event. When he met the Ramirez Family, he felt like he connected with them immediately.
“I did 14 round of chemo, every two weeks,” said Lieberman, who was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, at 11 years old. “The first thing that went through my head when the doctor sat me down was, ‘I’m going to die.’ Just being 11 years old and hearing this word, the first thought was, ‘I’m going to die. How much longer do I have to live?’”
Now, Blake is seven years cancer-free.
Rebecca Hyson has been cancer-free for four years. She said that any two strangers can be bonded by a connection that only a survivor can understand. She had advice for current fighters:
“You’re not alone. There’s so many people that have gone through chemo.”