Wednesday, October 9, 2013
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - The Westminster College Titans Football team will battle the Carnegie Mellon Tartans at the Homecoming game Saturday, Oct. 12, while honoring a young boy who is fighting a battle of his own. During the coin toss the team will announce 12-year-old Joseph Clark of Meadville, who is battling cancer, as an honorary team member and captain.
Joseph has been diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. In June Joseph was struck with a debilitating and nausea inducing headache. Doctors discovered a tumor and Joseph was life-flighted to Pittsburgh where surgery was performed the next day.
Since then he has endured 42 rounds of chemotherapy, 33 days of radiation, and four weeks of rehab after a stroke left him paralyzed on his left side. The tumor is gone for now and rehab has helped Joseph walk again, but he is beginning another round of treatment that will require chemotherapy five days out of each month for a year. He will also have to have MRIs every three months.
"He is strong and a fighter. He is determined," said Joseph's mother, Lori Clark. "He has a 10 percent chance, but as far as we are concerned, he will be the miracle."
The Titan Football team was made aware of Joseph's cancer by Kip Haas, Titan Sports Hall of Fame Coach. She learned of Joseph's cancer through his grandmother, Carol Wyman, and asked Titan Head Coach Jeff Hand if he would donate an autographed football to Clark. Hand and the Westminster College Football Leadership Council (WCFBLC) decided to do much more than that.
"After sharing Joe's circumstance and the request for the autographed ball with the staff and the WCFBLC we decided it would be best if we could invite Joe to campus if he was able and willing," Hand said.
Additionally, Joseph, a sports fan, will be dressed in a Nike Titan Football replica game jersey during the Homecoming game and will get to meet the football players.
"The team will be meeting Joe at practice on Friday afternoon in hopes that they brighten his day and get him excited about being a part of the game Saturday, as well as for the team to see how brave the 12-year-old must be," Hand said.
"The Titan Football program and its student athletes believe firmly in giving back through service to the local communities and youth. We want to extend a warm welcome to Joe this homecoming," Hand continued.
"This is a blessing. There are so many good people in the world," Clark said. "We appreciate them doing this for him - and us."
The Homecoming game will begin at 1 p.m. at Memorial Field.
Contact Hand at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.