How 30 Minutes of an Athlete’s Time Can Change a Child’s Life Forever

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Written by Brett Bedard, Vs. Cancer Campaign Manager and North Carolina Tar Heels Men’s Lacrosse Alum

Cancer has been a part of me since my earliest memories.  It changed the course of my life.

When I was a freshman lacrosse player at the University of North Carolina, Coach Breschi brought us in after practice and introduced a man named Chase Jones.  He passionately shared his story and the Vs. Cancer mission. I immediately fell in love with the organization.  There were two aspects of the process that really hit home for me – the team hospital visits and the symbolic head shaving.  Four years later, I’ve joined the Vs. Cancer team and gained a new perspective.

As a child, I was diagnosed with cancer and sent to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. for my chemotherapy.  It was a particularly dark time for me and my parents, but a professional football team transformed this experience into a positive memory for all of us.

While I was in the hospital, the Washington Redskins visited. I guess they took a liking to me because I was invited to a game.  The Redskins ended up winning the game thanks to a field goal by Brett Conway. In an interview afterward, he said “I met a little kid named Brett and he has cancer.  That kick was for him.”

After that incredible experience, I was invited to a closed practice where Hall of Famer Darrell Green came over, picked me up, and had the team huddle around me to say a prayer.  18 years later and I am still the most passionate fan you’ll ever meet. To this day, I tell people that the Washington Redskins played a HUGE part in helping me beat cancer.  I have no idea where I’d be today without them.

The point of this story is that you have a platform as an athlete, and it can be used to do a lot of good.

A 30-minute visit to the hospital to sit with a kid who is fighting to survive can change a life.  I’m living, breathing proof of that.  This is why I was always so proud to be a part of Vs. Cancer. The looks in the kids’ eyes when my teammates and I walked into the room was the same look I had when the Redskins visited me. These visits can change lives, and at the end of the day, that is what Vs. Cancer is all about.

Vs. Cancer makes it easy for your sports team to change the lives of kids with cancer. Get involved here or email me at brett@vs-cancer.org if your team would like more information.