SPRINGFIELD, Oregon – We’re used to seeing Beavers and Ducks fight each other in the Civil War. But on Wednesday, no one was laying a hit on each other. Instead, both sides teamed up to fight a bigger war; the war on Cancer.
At Deer Horn Park, east of Springfield, athletes from both schools jumped into boats along the McKenzie River and celebrated life with a group of kids who beat the disease.
Majiec Bownik was one of many kids celebrating their victory over cancer. He was diagnosed when he was just a few months old. The cancer in his back caused a physical disability in his leg which forces him to now wear a brace.
The battles each of the kids faced in their short lives moved the very athletes these young people look up to.
“They’re stronger than I could ever be. Just the stuff that they’ve been through. How they’ve reacted to it, how upbeat they are and how excited they are about everything. You would never know all the stuff that they’ve been through by the way that they act,” said Oregon Track & Field athlete TJ Brassil.
Candlelighters, a non-profit organization organization that helps families and children fight cancer, celebrated many childrens’ victories with a fishing trip down the McKenzie River with some of our local celebreties, Oregon & Oregon St. Athletes.
One OSU football player was personally moved to join the party Wednesday. Lineman Fred Lauina lost a cousin to cancer.
“He only had three months to live, and uh, he passed away two months instead of three and it really touched me. So when I heard about this I came over and do the best I can to make him smile. Put a… Whatever makes him happy for the day,” Lauina said.
But that trip down the river was enough to make most everyone there take stock of their own lives.
“I thank God for waking up and the opportunities I have. I never take that for granted because in a split second, it could be gone,” said Oregon lineman Elijah George.