When I was 8 months old, I was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a disease where cancerous tumors form in your eyes. Doctors removed my left eye, but saved my right one through chemotherapy and radiation. My one eye let me see the beauty in this world, including my parents and twin sister. Over the next twelve years, the cancer came back eight times, and we beat it each time. But when I was 12, it returned with a vengeance and the treatment failed. The only option was to remove my right eye. My parents asked what I’d like to see in my remaining time with sight. I’d always been a huge fan of USC, so I wanted to see one more Trojan game. Coach Pete Carroll heard about my story and made me part of the Trojan family. It was a dream come true and one of the last things I did before doctors performed the operation. Being blind obviously changed everything, but my parents encouraged me to continue pursing my dreams. In high school I became restless as a bystander, and knew I had to find my way back on to the football field. I tried out for my high school team and became their long snapper. I also played golf, skied, surfed and went on mission trips. When it came time for college, I had my sights set on one school: USC. Shortly after getting into USC, the football program invited me to walk on to the team as a long snapper. For two years, I trained every day on and off the field to become the best long snapper I could be. In this year’s opening game against Western Michigan, I got my first chance to play. Running onto the field for the first time was a moment I’ll never forget. Fortunately, I made a good snap and the kick was perfect. There was an incredible roar and outpouring of support from my teammates and the fans. It is something I’ll treasure for a lifetime. The biggest reason I overcame the adversity I faced and kept a positive attitude was my faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. At an early age, I learned life brings adversity and challenges—we’re all going to have them. What makes Christians different is how we face our challenges. The cancer took my eyes but not my will to go on living. If you can’t see how God works things out, then I think you’re the blind one.
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