David Kicks Cancer with the Philadelphia Union

Posted: Sep 19, 2023

It was a special two day event hosted by the Philadelphia Union, Casey Cares child, David was honored by the team for their Kick Childhood Cancer Night to bring awareness to the prevalence of and lack of funding for pediatric cancer throughout the month of September. 

The 5-year-old attended practice with Union players and received a custom jersey made for him. Thank to the Union, David enjoyed his first professional soccer game and was excited to kick the soccer ball on the field. The following day, the young boy and his family watched the Union take on FC Cincinnati during Kick Childhood Cancer Night where the score was a tie. David was joined by his parents, Kristyn and David, along with his siblings Aviana, Evan, and Alayna.

After joining Casey Cares earlier this year, the foundation ensured that David and his family were able to make lasting memories together through fun activities and at-home Movie & Pizza Night packages for rougher days. Thanks to Casey Cares, David recently attended a Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game where he met with umpires and threw the game’s first game.

Kristyn says that Casey Cares, “is very easy and it gives our family a sense of relief to be able to enjoy family events together. The program is very organized. The workers always follow up and follow through. They are very respectful and very responsive.”

David was diagnosed with medulloblastoma in August 2022. After having two brain surgeries and completing six weeks of radiation, David was left in a wheelchair for almost three months with temporary paralysis. He has since finished chemotherapy and his last MRI showed no evidence of disease.

David’s cancer diagnosis began with “a reoccurring positive strep throat swab, vomiting frequently, and then started to walk off balanced. That is when we took him to the emergency room. A blood culture was taken and we were notified by the doctor the following day that the culture came back positive. We were transferred to Danville Children's Hospital and the infectious disease and the neurology department saw David right away,” states his mother.

She continues, “It turned out that the initial blood culture was a contamination and there was no bacteria in David's blood. An MRI was ordered on David's brain and spine. That's where they found the golf ball size brain tumor growing from his cerebellum. They also found lesions down David's spine.”

Kristyn adds, “The journey felt like forever but we knew that we had to trust the process and leave David's life in the doctors' hands. We had to trust the medicine and the procedures. He requires hearing aids due to hearing loss from the radiation and chemotherapy. He also requires orthopedic braces to correct his walking. This is nothing compared to what he has gone through this past year.”

“Recently, finding out that David is cancer free is a dream come true. This will be a forever burden on David's life but he is stronger because of it. We want him to get back to being a kid and enjoy life. We will continue to have faith that David's future MRI's remain clear,” she concludes.

Watch CBS3 Philadelphia's story featuring Evan sharing his insights on what it's like being the sibling to someone with cancer - click here.

The Philadelphia Union has partnered with the Casey Cares Foundation since 2017, providing the nonprofit with tickets for critically ill children to watch soccer games. Want to donate tickets to a sports game or a special experience? Email our Program Director Summer at Summer@CaseyCaresFoundation.org.

Photo credit: Philadelphia Union