My father and I enjoyed playing a lot of different sports.
I grew up in sunny San Diego where I spent a lot of time outdoors and I enjoyed playing a lot of different sports. At the age of ten I was a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. In the only martial arts tournament that I entered, called “The Jimmy Kim Invitational,” I won a Gold and a Silver medal. I also really enjoyed and excelled in football, soccer, golf, and surfing. While learning how to play golf, my father and I riwon two Father/Son tournaments at ages 6 & 7 years old.
Many coaches that helped me
hone my skills.
But my true love has always been baseball. There are so many coaches that helped me hone my skills. Coach Dave Gonzales taught me how to hit left-handed. Kurtis Swansburg was my first travel-ball team coach. Coach Dixon and his son DJ really helped to hone my skills as a catcher. All the San Diego Show coaches: Coach Brian Cain, Coach Luis Lorenzano, Coach Anthony Stabile and Coach Hector Lorenzano. The coaches at Cathedral Catholic High School: Coach Gary Remiker and Coach Joe Sternio. The Coach who is responsible for bringing me to the San Diego Show: Coach Mike Lombardi. He believed in me and stuck with me through thick and thin. I owe him so much and to this day I enjoy a fantastic relationship with Coach Mike, his beautiful wife Cori , and their sons Tyler and Garrett (also known as G-Money).
Coaching and tutelage helped me develop my love of the game.
All of their coaching and tutelage helped me develop my love of the game. Those skills they helped me hone, culminated in a trip of a lifetime. I was selected to play on the 15U Team USA – San Diego team. Wearing the stars and stripes, I had the privilege of representing the USA. The team was headed to Nagoya, Japan to play in the 15U World Series in 2015.
Two weeks prior to representing the USA
at the World Championships in Japan.
Unfortunately, roughly two weeks prior to representing the USA at the World Championships in Japan, I was diagnosed with brain cancer. Therefore, I was unable to travel with my teammates, and any thoughts of a career playing baseball ended. With that being said, I ended my playing career the way most baseball players would love to end their career. I am proud of the fact that in my last official game, I hit a walk off double in the bottom of the 11th inning, bringing the first Freshman championship to my high school.
We had a talented team that year which was spearheaded by our 3-headed monster: Jack Straza as pitcher, Jake Lynch hitting, and me behind the plate catching. Jack was our ace on the mound and scored the winning run in that game. Jake Lynch was the big bopper at the plate, he hit over .500 for the season. I prided myself on blocking everything, and because of my quick release, it was extremely difficult to steal off me. I can still remember that championship game like it was yesterday.
Brain surgery to remove the ping-pong ball size tumor in my head.
In July of 2015, my world as I knew it was turned upside down as I was diagnosed. In the first 30-days of diagnosis I underwent a 12-hour brain surgery to remove the ping-pong ball size tumor in my head; a staph infection from the surgery that lasted 3 weeks and almost took my life; and then I underwent a second 12-hour brain surgery because the tumor had grown completely back during the staph infection. Unfortunately, that 2nd surgery took a real toll on my body, and I was left partially paralyzed, and my right eye was completely pointing to the right. To this day I still experience the aftereffects of the surgeries such as extremely poor balance and impaired vision, consequently preventing me from driving at night.
A blend between science and nature.
After the second surgery the oncologists didn’t waste any time and got right into proton radiation within one day. That is where I met neuroradiology oncologist Doctor Atman Pai, my favorite Doctor. He was the perfect doctor, a blend between science and nature. He is the individual who explained to me how I could help myself fight cancer with the right nutrition, and I am forever grateful for that.
Kept my spirits up and helped me take my mind off cancer.
After those 2 surgeries and radiation I went into Chemotherapy. I can tell you it definitely took a toll on me. I was constantly sick to my stomach and my weight went from 155lbs to 105lbs. However, during that time in the hospital I was fortunate enough to have classmates, family and friends visit me. This kept my spirits up and helped me take my mind off cancer. During that time, I also met the man named Ed Hanson, who worked with Make-A-Wish to restore/build an award winning 1966 Mustang as my Make-A-Wish. I have included a few pictures of the car.
The day changed my life forever,
as they all prayed over me.
It was after Chemo that things took a turn for the worse, as the enhancement in the tumor bed started to grow again. That meant the chemo and radiation did not have the effect the doctors were hoping for. Since I had already gone through the “standard of care,” the only option available was experimental trials. I was heading off to Florida for an experimental trial, when Ann Majer at my high school asked me to “come to school to say goodbye to some of my friends”.
That day the entire school, 1,700 strong, surprised me as they were all seated in the football stadium – Manchester Stadium. That day changed my life forever, as they all prayed over me. After that prayer, my cancer was no longer growing and instead was shrinking to the point where I was declared cancer free.
I am proud to say
I am cancer free.
Fast forward to today, after a total of 4 brain surgeries, totaling roughly 40 hours (2 surgeries in high school and 2 surgeries in college), as well as chemotherapy, and radiation, I am proud to say I am cancer free. During all of that, I graduated from high school on time, and received my undergraduate degree from UC Santa Barbara. I am currently enrolled in graduate school for Sports Management at Texas A&M University in the class of 2024. At Texas A&M I am a student manager for the Aggie baseball team and for Olympic Sports
Helps enhance the lives of these amazing children fighting cancer.
While fighting brain cancer, I raised $40,000 over 2 years for pediatric brain cancer. I accomplished this by selling t-shirts. That helped me understand that it truly takes a village to help others. I want so desperately to help children that are fighting the battle I had with cancer, so I started this non-profit foundation. Our foundation helps enhance the lives of these amazing children fighting cancer by giving them brand new Apple iPads for them to keep.
My journey with brain cancer and the prayer.
There is a movie that was made called “Miracle at Manchester”, which is about my journey with brain cancer and the prayer my school held for me in Manchester Stadium. This movie gave me the platform to launch this foundation. If you would like to hear more about this movie which stars Dean Cain, Daniel Roebuck, Eddie McClintock, and newcomer Nick Avila, please see the tab at the top of the page.
No donation is too Large
or too small.
Our Foundation is not self-funded, so any donation you can give will help put more smiles on these amazing children’s faces. Your help is greatly appreciated, no donation is too large or too small, as our goal is to be in every children’s hospital in the country.
Thank you for visiting our Foundation,