Boy battling cancer gets big surprise from youth football team
August 12, 2017 10:49 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A brave 9-year-old Albuquerque boy who is fighting cancer got a huge surprise from his football team Saturday, when they surprised him by helping him score his first touchdown.
Elijah Dimas, who is in a wheelchair, watched from the sidelines as his team, the West Mesa Mustangs, played their first game of the season at Nusenda Community Stadium.
But he had no idea he was about to be called into the game for the first time.
Elijah was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. That didn't stop him from becoming an honorary member of the team, joining his two cousins who were already on it. Even though he can't play, Elijah said the experience gave him strength.
"It's just amazing because I never thought I would be part of a team having cancer, and now I am part of a team,” he said. “So it's just awesome.”
Just before halftime during Saturday's game, Elijah's teammates surprised him by helping him out of his wheelchair and walking him to the end zone where he scored his very first touchdown.
Elijah's parents said it was a moment they'll never forget, either.
"That was amazing,” said Anthony Dimas, Elijah's dad. “It was really overwhelming with the emotions, but it was awesome."
The special moment wouldn't have been possible without Lawrence Avila, the equipment manager for the Young America Football League. As soon as he heard Elijah's story, he knew he wanted to do something special and he organized the surprise.
"Things like that make it completely worth it to make someone like Elijah, who's so tough and dealing with so much,” Avila said.
For a brief moment, Elijah was able to forget all about his cancer and the battle ahead and feel like a regular kid again.
"That was really amazing,” Elijah said. “I never thought I could do that because of cancer."
Updated: August 12, 2017 10:49 PM
Created: August 12, 2017 10:15 PM
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