December 22, 2021
Childhood leukemia survivor recalls signing Houston Dynamo FC contract
BY Arav Patil
The happiest day of my life was the day my doctor told me I could stop chemotherapy because my leukemia was in remission.
The second happiest day was when Houston Dynamo FC invited me and 10 other kids treated at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital to be honorary team members at their game against Sporting KC on Sept. 5, 2020.
I’m a huge soccer fan, so I got super excited when I got the invitation in the mail. I started yelling and jumping up and down on the bed, which I’m not allowed to do. But I couldn’t help myself. Nothing this amazing had ever happened to me.
Before the game, the Dynamo sent me a box full of cool stuff, including a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses, and a soccer ball signed by all the players. But my favorite thing was the contract. I was afraid I would spill something on it or mess it up, so I signed very slowly and carefully with my favorite pen. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
My mom took pictures of me signing and wearing my Dynamo swag, and my dad posted the pictures on Facebook. Tons of friends and relatives reached out to congratulate me.
The day of the game, my family and I watched from home to avoid the crowded stadium during the pandemic. It was really special to see each Dynamo player wearing a jersey that featured the name of a child treated at MD Anderson.
I was excited to see Dynamo player Memo Rodriguez wearing my name. After the game, he signed that jersey and sent it to me. It’s hanging on my bedroom wall. I’ve told my mom to never wash it. I don’t want the autograph to come off.
The whole experience sometimes seems like a dream. Sometimes I reach up and touch the jersey, and re-read the contract which is in a frame on my bookshelf, just to remind myself that it really happened.
Being an honorary Dynamo team member was an amazing end to a tough couple of years.
First, I had to undergo leukemia treatment, and then, just as I was looking forward to going back to school, the pandemic hit. I had to attend my whole fifth grade year at home, on the computer. I was really missing my friends and teachers.
But life is good now. I’m healthy and back in the classroom, and next year I’ll be old enough to try out for my school’s soccer team. If I need any advice, I know who I can ask.
Request an appointment at MD Anderson online or by calling 1-877-632-6789.
The whole experience sometimes seems like a dream.