OT: Gained a lot of respect for the Spartans this year.

Submitted by Shaqsquatch on September 29th, 2011 at 8:57 AM

Now I know this might be a little tl;dr, and I'm normally one of the last people to praise the MSU football team, especially Dantonio, but they've done something pretty amazing this year for members of my extended family.

Earlier this year, my 11 year old cousin was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, an agressive type of brain cancer. She began an agressive series of chemotherapy treatments, that will likely continue until July of next year.  Before she began the treatments, she was a very active person, playing on a travel soccer team and various other sports. After she started treatments, her teammtes began making bracelets with her name on them similar to Livestrong bracelets, and now most of her league, friends, and family are wearing them.

So now cut to the first week of the season, when my brother, another cousin, and me are catching MSU's season opener on TV, and we notice a bunch of the MSU players and coaches wearing her bracelets on the sideline and in the game.  A few minutes later, they run a bit about the Spartan player who was playing for the first time since surviving cancer, and they cut to a shot before the game of him talking to some people, lo and behold it's my 11 year old cousin with her brothers and parents. Then her parents email out to the family a bit later with the details. Both of them are MSU alumni, and she has been visiting practices and meeting with the coaches and players, who have been giving her advice and support. Here's an excerpt from the email, with names edited out for her privacy:

"Today she visited the MSU football players in their closed practice.  The players and coaches were absolutely amazing with [her].  Tomorrow the conditioning coach, Coach Mannie, who is taking her under his wing, is making copies of a biography that we gave them on [her].  He told the team that each of them will have the bio of [her] in their lockers tomorrow (copy of the bio attached).  In addition, he told the team that [she] was there to give them her bracelets.  He told them that she is watching them play on TV and watching for the bracelets.  Thus, he expected all of the team to be wearing their bracelets at this Saturday's game vs Ohio State.  At the end of the practice Kurt Cousins lead the team in prayer and prayed first for our family and [her] and of course the team.  He is a really amazing guy!    Coach Mannie then gave [her] a beautiful necklace and bracelet that his wife picked out for her and a card signed by all the players.  He told [her] that he will make sure that she is on the field before every game this season that she is able to attend.  When he took [her] in the HUGE weight room where he works with the team, he gave [her] some of the cherry juice that the football players drink for her to try (we have been trying to get her to drink cherry juice and when we went in the weight room there was a sign on the coolers saying "cherry juice is only for the football players"....wow sometimes God just puts those signs in the right places) and he told her when she is done with treatment, he will personally work with her on conditioning.  Last but not least he emailed us a bunch of pictures from today before we even made it all the way home.   It was yet another special day with the MSU football team for [her]."

Now despite the homerism in my aunt's description, I was blown away by how the team is treating my little cousin, and I guarantee it's helping her (she's normally very shy and reserved, but her doctors have been remarking on her energy and dedication, I imagine meeting with these guys has to help that somewhat).  All I know is that this year, aside from October 15, I'm going to be cheering for the Spartans.



September 29th, 2011 at 9:04 AM ^

Sports transcended in a glorious way. 

I lost my wife to cancer last December, so I know the pain and agony that marches with that horrible disease.

My prayers go out to our Heavenly Father on behalf of that sweet 11-year old.


September 29th, 2011 at 9:11 AM ^

It's a good reminder that team colors and allegiances don't mean much in the bigger picture.  Thanks for sharing, and I'll be praying for your cousin and family.


September 29th, 2011 at 10:10 AM ^

Great perspective for all of us! We have rivals we can respect. I'll be praying for your cousin and, this time, thanking God for MSU football.

OMG the QB is toast

September 29th, 2011 at 10:53 AM ^

First off, I'm hoping for all the best for your cousin in her treatment and recovery, but...

I do have to say I'm a bit disappointed. You've made it significantly more difficult to view the Spartans and their football program as a bunch of thugs and criminals. I don't enjoy saying it, but hats off to Dantonio and his team. Classy move for a most deserving young lady.


September 29th, 2011 at 12:09 PM ^

Wow I have to agree with others on this post, hearing that story makes it hard to despise MSU, I wish your cousin a speedy recovery and may god be with her and give her the stength and courage to get through this.

   And my hats off to Dantonio and his MSU football team players coaches and staff, that is a class act.



           But still GO BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


September 29th, 2011 at 12:25 PM ^

I'll have no problem dialing up the requisite hate for both Cousins and Dantonio for our game with them.


But bless them for anything and everything they do for your cousin.  I hate cancer.....Godspeed.


September 29th, 2011 at 12:25 PM ^

Sometimes the competitive juices bring out the ugly side of people, but it seems we can all agree that regarless of allegiance, this is a great story.  People are people and I'm sure most of us have friends who are Spartans.  It is nice to see their support in this truly positive and beneficial way.


September 29th, 2011 at 12:41 PM ^

MSU marketing has really been working overtime.  First the "mitten" helmet stickers, and now this.  Hiring Vick's publicist has really paid off for them.

Now that I've got that out of the way...I'm glad your little cousin had a good experience, and I'll be praying for her.


September 29th, 2011 at 12:44 PM ^

some of my friends in the MMB last night.  Apparently, after practice yesterday they were greeted by representatives from the OSU, MSU and EMU bands yesterday, who brought with them cards, letters from their bands and directors, flowers (from each of the Big Ten schools) and words of encouragement and support in honor of Patrick Fleming.  OSU's representatives said that instead of ending their practice with their traditional cheer, they instead had a moment of silence and MSU brought a DVD of their band playing "Amazing Grace" (http://www.facebook.com/#!/Michigan.Marching.Band?sk=wall a little ways down the page, you'll see all the support on the wall from several different bands).  He said at the end, when the MMB played "The Victors" all the representatives from all three other schools clapped along.  Some truly touching stuff going on.


September 29th, 2011 at 2:57 PM ^

What a great story thanks for sharing. God bless your cousin and family during these tough times. I lost my father to Cancer when I was 18 it's pretty nasty. Now after reading this it makes me want to root for State of course not against us though.


September 29th, 2011 at 3:38 PM ^

I go to a small Christian college on the west side of the state (Calvin College) and about 60 kids per year come to our college from Holland Christian (Cousins' HS).  Every person I've met from his HS has great things to say about him, normally never mentioning football when talking about him.  Every school has a couple bad apples, but as of today, we can definitely see that MSU has a lot of great people in the program.

Ali G Bomaye

September 29th, 2011 at 4:15 PM ^

Great story, and best wishes for your cousin's recovery.

But I'd tell her to be suspicious of any "cherry juice" available in the Spartans' weight room unless she's a fan of backne and roid rage.


September 29th, 2011 at 4:57 PM ^

Great to hear about the good side of opponents. We're all human beings but there are many times I, and I believe the majority of us forget. Touching story and I wish your cousin luck, I will be praying for her.


September 29th, 2011 at 5:10 PM ^

Cool story. That's really nice of the Sparties to do that for your relative.

But, that won't make me root for them - still think about Sparty Bob and tripping up Desmond in the endzone.. Go blue.

I hope your cousin gets better soon.


September 29th, 2011 at 6:10 PM ^

In 1982 when I was 11 my best friend came down with stomach cancer.  He was only a kid with no connections to the University of Michigan but Coach Schembechler took time out of a frantic football Saturday to meet with him and I.  I bet they do this for alot of kids but every time it is a great thing.  My friend later passed away but I can assure you nothing ment more to him in his last days then a signed rose bowl football.  I can tell you that this a very special thing that I will never forget and I am sure your cousin will remember this for the rest of her long life. 


September 29th, 2011 at 9:08 PM ^

God bless your cousin and your family. I'm an RN and spent a great deal of time both in pediatrics and treating neurosurgical patients. Tell your cousin to be tough. It really is a fight. To win at anything you have to have a great team. You, your family, her friends, her teammates and classmates, and even the Spartans are part of that team. Stand by her and encourage her as much as possible. She'll beat it. As stated earlier, we'll all be waiting to hear how we can help. 


September 29th, 2011 at 10:58 PM ^

Bless your cousin and family - sounds like she's a great kid with good spirit. Here's to her staying strong and beating it.

My college roommate's son was only one when he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. The first year of treatments were especially hard, prompting many many trips between Mott Children's Hospital and his East Lansing home. That's right: my pal and his wife were both Spartan alum (we were roomies when freshmen, pre-transfers, at GVSU). When things finally slowed down enough that I could visit them, I asked how it felt to have his son's care in the hands of his most hated enemies.

So he told me a story about how his son had a rough patch during treatment and how they had to stay a few nights in Mott's, and it just so happened that those days led right through Christmas. So, Christmas morning comes, my pal's exhausted because his son had been up all night and had just gotten to sleep, and there's a knock on the door. My friend opens the door to find a guy dressed up as Santa Claus, asking if he could visit for a while. My friend had to beg off, but Santa left him a stuffed animal and a Go Blue shirt for his son. My friend crashes out again, and is awakened later that morning by a nurse who asked if Santa stopped by; my friend explained what happened, and the nurse gives him a sort of "WTF?" look, so he asks what's wrong.

"You know who that was, right?" she asked.
"That was Coach Carr. He spends every Christmas with the kids."

Three years later, his son is in remission. He thanks Michigan every day except for a particular October Saturday.


September 30th, 2011 at 12:17 AM ^

First and foremost, prayers out to you, this young lady and her family.  Lost my mother to Cancer and my father is now a five year survivor.

Secondly proud to be a Wolverine fan when I see posts like these where we're all seemingly adult enough to put football rivalries aside for real life.

Third, thanks to sparty coaches players and fans who recognize how important this is and do the same.

Lastly.......went over to RCMB and can't believe a couple (very few) A holes still can't drop the trash talk when something like this happens......grow up!!!


Go Blue and yes......if me saying Go Gre.....  you know what I mean would make this young lady smile, I wouldn't hesitate.   Thanking God right now for my four beautiful healthy daughters.



September 30th, 2011 at 9:06 AM ^

As a "hated enemy" when it comes to a sick kid (or really any one with that kind of horrible illness).
Its a great story. Blessings and prayers to that kid. And thanks to Sparty for giving her that joy and energy!
Thanks for sharing that great story!