Tuesday was a gorgeous night for a ball game and an exciting day for CCChampions kids Austin and Sean! When asked if we knew anyone that would want to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Pirates game, we knew just who to call.
Two-time champion over cancer, Austin, threw the first pitch of the game to fellow cancer defeater and close friend, Sean. Cool, calm, and collected, the boys didn't bat an eye at the pressure of being in front of thousands of people. They have been through much tougher situations together.
After a flawless first pitch, the boys, along with Austin's grandmother and Sean's dad, got to enjoy the game from incredible seats in the Lexus Club, while the rest of the families and CCChampions friends watched from the stands, complimentary or AT&T SportsNet.
We even managed to get our hands on a foul ball!
Austin and Sean are both alumni of the CCChampions program. Austin, who wants to be a star athlete, was matched with the Carlow men's basketball team. Sean, who wants to be a sports broadcaster, was matched with the Pirates own broadcaster Joe Block.
Austin and Sean were featured in an article by Noah Hill. Check out his story here!
And a special thank you to AT&T SportsNet for making this experience possible!
Back in February 2017, something special began.
For the first time, David, a newly diagnosed teen, got to meet his CCChampions role model Cam Johnson. Cam may have 18 inches on David, but that didn't get in the way of David's classic trash-talking.
David didn't wait long to challenge Cam in one of his favorite activities in the hospital -- nerf gun battles.
Cam would visit David throughout David's cancer journey, going on all sorts of adventures together. One of their favorites was a pizza eating competition at a restaurant around the corner from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.
Want to guess who won?
As David got better and better and started heading home, Cam had some good news too! He was transferring to University of North Carolina to be a starter on their Men's Basketball team!
David and his family were super psyched for Cam, but David had a tough time saying goodbye. As David told us, he was just really going to miss his "brother Cam."
David followed Cam from hundreds of miles away, as Cam crushed the competition and got national recognition for his impact on the court for one of the best teams in the country.
But back home, David missed his CCChampions friend. They still texted each other and the friendship continued to grow, but trash-talking is done much better in person. Months passed, and David didn't know when he would see Cam next.
...until this week!
We're excited to share that these two superstars reunited for the first time in almost a year! They jumped right back in where they left off (if you look closely, you can see a pizza place in the background of the 2nd picture... ).
Cam shared stories of grad school at UNC, and David shared his excitement for his upcoming baseball season. The brothers were re-united.
Cam was there for David during the hardest of days. He gave David confidence, silliness, and lots of friendship. In so many ways, he helped David be a kid again.
As we always say, our friendships aren’t just a one-time event or hospital visit -- the impact of a CCChampions friendship lasts a lifetime.
With all of this snow in Pittsburgh, staying active indoors is the way to go! With basketball season underway, here's a throwback to when we matched Jayme with the Duquesne Women's Basketball team!
Standing five foot seven at only ten years old, basketball is in Jayme’s blood. That's why we thought that the Duquesne Women's Basketball team would be a perfect match for her!
Besides basketball Jayme loves being a member of the HYAA Cheer Squad, spearheading petitions for the NFL and MLB to wear gold during September to raise awareness of childhood cancer, and riding her four wheeler.
The ladies on The Duquesne Women's Basketball team have been incredible friends to Jayme and her family. The women have visited Jayme in the hospital and even invited her to join them for practice. Jayme was an honorary side-line coach for a game during season, and her cheer squad will also get to be the spirit tunnel. This brought a particularly big smile to Jayme’s face.
Since NCAA Basketball is finally back, here's a Throwback Thursday to David and his role model, Cam Johnson!
**If you are a NCAA basketball fan, don't forget about our March to Friendship brackets coming up in just a few months! Visit our website https://www.ccchampions.com/march-to-friendship.html for more information!
David is a sports star from St. Mary’s, PA with an infectious smile. He loves all sports, but basketball is his favorite. So, we paired him with Cameron Johnson, previous guard for the Pittsburgh Panthers (now a University of North Carolina Tar Heel)!
The first time Cam visited David at the hospital, they spent three straight hours having nerf-gun wars and talking about basketball. They were pretty much inseparable ever since!
Cam would visit David whenever he was able to and the two boys never seemed to have enough time together! They enjoyed playing video games, having pizza eating contests, watching TV, and talking about all things basketball.
To read more about David and his friendship with Cam, visit www.ccchampions.com/stories !
By: Coy Thompson
I first met 11 year old Jayme the week she was diagnosed. It was easy to see that the news of Jayme’s diagnosis made her sad, scared and uncomfortable.
Her mom and grandmother explained that Jayme loved playing basketball and cheerleading. The thought of no longer being able to participate in these activities made Jayme pull the covers over her head, and she hardly made eye contact with anyone in the hospital room. Jayme’s devastation was obvious.
Not only was she unable to take part in the thrill of sports she loved, but she was no longer a member of a team. The idea of missing out on the fun, the camaraderie that comes with being a part of team, was taking a toll on Jayme. But I was certain that CCChampions could help. Our goal was to match Jayme with a member of the Duquesne Women’s Basketball team. Though, after a few phone calls it became clear that we weren’t matching Jayme with one member of the team, but with the ENTIRE team!
During the first visit from her new friends, Jayme and the women were already planning the next visit. As soon as she finished her first round of treatment, the whole basketball team invited Jayme to one of their practices! Jayme showed off her shot -- and of course her tallness!
On Saturday, January 15th, the Duquesne Women’s Basketball team hosted the “Duke Out Cancer” for Jayme and all those touched by cancer. The entire crowd dressed in pink to show their support for Jayme, and she was the team’s honorary sideline coach for the nationally televised game.
Jayme was in the locker room for the pre-game speech, met WNBA legend Sue Bird, and was even on ESPN! She cheered on the team from special seats on the bench. It was truly awesome!!!
In my opinion, though, the most amazing part of that week wasn’t the game, but what happened next.
Later that week, far away the cameras and cheering fans, several members of the team braved falling snow and messy roads to visit Jayme. She was at the hospital for a five day treatment. They spent their time painting their nails together and chatting about typical “girl stuff” -- favorite Disney characters, makeup, hair, and even pre-game rituals.
Their conversations were the sort that teammates would have during bus rides or during breaks at practice.
And now, even though Jayme is going through some tough treatment far away from home, Jayme is part of a team again.
Types of Friendships