17-year-old leukemia patient makes brief but emotional appearance in senior night game

Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 10:57 PM EDT
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PROCTORVILLE, Ohio (WSAZ) - Back when everyone was getting adjusted to the new normal of life during a pandemic, 17-year-old Luke Colegrove found out his life was about to change dramatically again.

In April, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“Just the initial finding out was extremely tough for a while,” Colegrove said. “After my surgery I lost a lot of weight. I was really inactive, and I try to be an active person, and that really put a damper on how I felt.”

The Fairland senior is still looking at years of treatment, but he was feeling well enough to take part at his school’s soccer senior night Tuesday.

“He loves it so much and he tries so hard,” Luke’s mother Leah Sullivan said. “I wanted him to be able to participate with his team. They’ve made him an equal part of the team even though he can’t always be on the field, so it’s awesome to be here.”

His teammates and fans wore orange shirts saying “LUKESTRONG.”

“I’m extremely grateful to be this healthy and this active, and to be out here with my teammates means more than anything,” Colegrove said.

Fellow leukemia patient 4-year-old Briar Howell from Raceland, Kentucky, made the pregame coin toss.

Colegrove got to make the game’s opening kickoff and played for about a minute before coming out of the game against Rock Hill to a loud ovation.

He hopes his battle with cancer inspires other young patients.

“You just have to keep going and fight through it,” he said. “That’s the only way to get to where I am now and to be here. You just have to keep going on more and press on.”

They collected donations at the soccer game for a new game system for the Pediatric Clinic at the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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