The “Teen Group” at Akron Children’s Hospital’s Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders is a support group for oncology patients who have been or are being treated at Akron Children’s. I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL, which is a childhood cancer of the bone marrow and blood) when I was 16 years old. I started going to the group when I was about 6 months into treatment. It really helped me keep pushing through the hard times. (Read more about my cancer journey here)
Seeing all of the cancer survivors made me realize that there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that it would get better. I continued to go to group and have been going for about 3 years now. It has been very helpful knowing that everyone sitting around you has been or are going through what you have. I truly believe that God puts special people in your life for specific reasons and the people in this group are some of those special people. Matthew Dellavedova — “Delly” — is another one.
I first met Delly, who is a former Cleveland Cavalier player, through “A Prom To Remember” which is held at the Ritz Carlton every year for cancer patients. Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I was a big athlete. I was the point guard and leading scorer on my basketball team. When I arrived at the prom, it was a natural fit for Delly to be my escort.
He and I really hit it off. He is a point guard, and so was I, so we bonded over everything basketball.
After the prom, he followed me on social media. We talked to each other a lot through Twitter (follow me). During the 2015 playoffs Delly would reach out to me and give me his extra tickets to the games. I got to meet his girlfriend at the time, who is now his wife and his parents and sister.
Over the years, Delly and I have done many different events together and he even came to my school to speak to my basketball team.
The memories I’ve had with Delly are memories I will never forget. Since his move to the Milwaukee Bucks, Delly and I have still keep in contact. He wishes me luck before every surgery and constantly asks how I’m doing.
A couple weeks ago, I was having a normal conversation with him and told him about the Teen Group at Akron Children’s, and he asked if he could reach out. That is when he sent the below video! It means a lot that he not only supports me through my battle, but my friends’ battles as well. He is truly one of the sweetest guys I have ever met. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without his support as well as the Teen Group’s support.