St. Anthony Soccer Team Honors Kindergartener Battling Cancer
Published on October 4 2012 6:15 pm
Last Updated on October 5 2012 8:44 am
Written by Greg Sapp
Senior Night is a special time in any sport in any school. Nice, then, of the St. Anthony High School soccer seniors Thursday to share their moment with kindergarten student Luke Johnson.
Luke, the son of Rick and Jami Johnson of Effingham, is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He was diagnosed with the illness two years ago and has been in remission since. During a maintenance treatment last week, though, cancer cells were discovered in Luke's spinal fluid. His spinal fluid is filled with 95% leukemia cells and his bone marrow contains 6% leukemia cells. He will require a bone marrow transplant and has already begun aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatment at Children's Hospital in St. Louis.
In support of Luke's fight against leukemia, the St. Anthony JV soccer team wore orange T-shirts to join "Team Luke". The St. Anthony varsity players wore orange shirts for warmups, but not during the game due to last-minute preparations and to insure no violations of IHSA guidelines.
Orange shirts were chosen as orange represents leukemia.
During halftime of the varsity contest, Luke joined the team on the field and kicked a goal to signify his fight against cancer. Luke was then presented the ball which had been signed by members of the team. He also received a team picture and balloons and a jersey that St. Anthony Coach Scott Demers said would be his to wear when he's old enough to join the soccer squad.
To make the ceremony even more meaningful, Eddie Siemer who was with the Teutopolis soccer squad and is fighting his own battle with cancer, was asked to be in goal and defend against Luke's kick. Eddie is the son of Marty and Lisa Siemer.
Rick Johnson said after the ceremony how appreciative his family is for all of the support they have received during Luke's battle.