The word “cancer” seems scary for everyone, especially when you are just nine years old. However, Sammy Strawn is not only a cancer survivor but also a great baseball player.
Little Sammy is a baseball enthusiast, but he is so quiet and professional when playing on the field.
“My dad taught me when I was like maybe 3 or 4, so baseball’s life to me,” Sammy stated.
Last October, however, he wasn’t feeling like himself as usual.
“We first found out after he had a prolonged headache at school and had to come home from school,” his dad Joe said.
And then a brain tumor was discovered to be the cause of that long headache.
“It was a pilocytic astrocytoma,” Joe said.
But it is not easy for Sammy to give up on his passion. Therefore, when his parents told him what was going on, Joe recalled only two questions popped into Sammy’s mind: “First one: ‘Am I going to live?’ The second one: ‘Am I going to play baseball again?'”
Joe Wemhoff-Strawn and his wife Sarah Wemhoff-Strawn claim to have discovered the tumor early on.
“(It was) not genetic, it was just a formulation of bad cells,” Sarah said.
Sammy underwent two surgeries within weeks of each other in October and November. Yet, he was back to playing catch again just three days later.
“I didn’t want to lie to him and say ‘you will play baseball again,'” Joe said. “That was never a guarantee,” Sarah agreed.
Joe said he “was hoping by April he would be playing baseball and even that, I wasn’t sure it was going to happen.”
Sammy’s parents were so inspired by his impact that they founded Sammy Strong, a nonprofit dedicated to providing resources to families and anyone involved in the life of a child who has experienced what Sammy did.
Meanwhile, since his operation, Sammy has not missed a single game or practice. He was also grateful for his teammates because they didn’t mind he had cancer.
“It’s like they didn’t even notice that I had cancer, and I was just a normal kid on the baseball team,” Sammy said.
“I think Grateful is the biggest understatement in the world,” Sarah said.
In a Facebook post on July 16, when his parents asked him, “Sammy what makes baseball so great?” Sammy then answered honestly, “I don’t know, it’s just a feeling I get when I walk on the field.”
The diagnosis will not beat him because the vital support of family and friends helps to get him through everything. It gives him a reason to live and motivates him.
According to Joe and Sarah, the tumor is unlikely to return. On the other hand, Sammy has a check-up every three months to ensure that everything is alright.
At the Zorinsky Youth Baseball Complex, the first Sammy Strong event will be a 5K and home run derby on Saturday, July 31 at 9 a.m.