Young Football Player Tackles Cancer

By Alan Gionet

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– “We just want Victor to know there are a lot of people that stand behind him,” said Victor Alfaro Jr.’s stepmom Felicity Alfaro.

Age 13 is an especially rough time to get cancer. You are young and active and you are trying to play sports. Victor loves football. This was going to be a great season. It all changed in September.

victor alfaro jr 1 Young Football Player Tackles Cancer

Victor Alfaro Jr. (credit: Alfaro Family)

Victor’s story is one of those we’re telling amid my No Shave November effort. We are trying to explain that there’s more to people than the cancer that affects them. Victor hasn’t let it stop him. Neither are the people who have lined up with him. They call themselves, “Victor Strong.”

victor alfaro jr 2 Young Football Player Tackles Cancer

Victor Alfaro Jr. (credit: Alfaro Family)

It started with odd pains in Victor’s chest and stomach. They would come and go. At first doctors thought it was ligaments stretching in a growing boy. Sometimes he’d be out of breath. Then one day there was blurred vision at school. His family believed the answers they’d been getting weren’t good enough. Doctors began to conclude he had lymphoma after seeing swollen lymph nodes in a scan of his chest. But that wasn’t right either. The cancer had spread to his lymph nodes and bone marrow – that much was correct.

But the disease was Rhabdomyosarcoma. The childhood form of the disease occurs as tumors in muscle tissue. There was a tumor that had formed behind his lung and had wrapped itself around his aorta.

victor alfaro jr 3 Young Football Player Tackles Cancer

Victor Alfaro Jr. (credit: Alfaro Family)

Football season was out, but Victor was still a part of the 8th Grade Englewood Pirates team. In fact, the team became part of his fight. The daughter of the football coach came up with an idea for a Shave-A-Thon in late October. People shaved their heads in support as Victor started 58 weeks of chemotherapy. Victor was honored at games.

victor alfaro jr 4 Young Football Player Tackles Cancer

Victor Alfaro Jr. (credit: Alfaro Family)

His parents, while divorced, pulled together to help him.

“We definitely have pulled together,” said Felicity, “We have dinner together.”

It’s a group effort. One photo shows Victor’s half-brother waiting as he gets treatment. There’s a lot of support.

victor alfaro jr 5 Young Football Player Tackles Cancer

Victor Alfaro’s brother waits outside the room where Victor gets treatment. (credit: Alfaro Family)

Victor’s effort is strong because of the people with him in his fight.

“Just the Englewood community has been such a big supporter for Victor,” said Felicity.

The best of Colorado comes out in rough times. Victor and his family are together for him and so are so many more.

The family is dealing with huge bills from Victor’s care. Here’s a GoFundMe page for “Victor Strong:” https://www.gofundme.com/83-victor-strong

Alan Gionet’s No Shave November effort: https://no-shave.org/member/agionet

Alan Gionet is anchor of CBS4 This Morning and reports on a wide variety of issues and “Good Question” stories. He started at CBS4 in 1994. Follow Alan on Twitter @AlanGTV or on Facebook.

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