Seven-year-old Josiah Schroeder would have loved to watch his school's football team win the state championship in person, but since cancer had prevented that, the team (and the game football) came to him.
As the Caledonia, Minnesota, varsity football team was making its run at a third straight state Class AA title (and 41st straight win) this past season, one young fan was preparing to be in the middle of it all … until a frightening cancer diagnosis took that all away.
As the Rochester Post-Bulletin and La Crosse's WXOW.com report, 7-year-old Josiah Schroeder was diagnosed with leukemia in September, just as his favorite team was kicking off its winning season. Josiah was able to watch the team play last year, but this year, the P-B reports his treatment schedule at Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus wouldn't allow it.
The team carried on with the season, but media outlets report that Josiah was never far from the minds of the players and coaching staff. In addition to donating "all of the proceeds from their annual Tackle Cancer game" to Josiah's family, each Warriors player wore a "JJ" sticker on the back of his helmet during the team's championship game in Minneapolis on Nov. 24.
And after the game, they took their support a step further. On the way home to Caledonia, the team stopped at the hospital to see their No. 1 fan. "We just did it to brighten his spirits," assistant coach Brent Schroeder tells the P-B. "We had a special bunch of kids this year, but this was about more than just football. They were very humbled." Read the rest of Josiah's story.
This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.