Teen cancer fighter tosses out first pitch for Indy Indians game – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Win or lose for the team, there was a moment of victory at Victory Field Saturday night in the form of a teenage cancer fighter throwing the first pitch.
Cade Thompson, 16, is the son of a retired Major League baseball player and the younger brother of both a Purdue soccer player and a professional basketball player. But it was Cade’s turn to be in the spotlight at the stadium and shine a light on a deadly disease.
Cade limped a little for a natural athlete going to the hill, but no one seemed to mind.
On the one hand, the limping seems odd because Cade is an athlete on not one or two high school teams with Ben Davis, but five.
“Soccer, basketball, baseball, track and field and swimming,” he said.
But on the other hand, it is slack to be expected. Cade just finished 29 weeks of chemotherapy in April.
Last year it was around this time, his brother thought something was wrong.
Cade was 15 years old and had just completed his freshman year. But his knee hurt when he was training with his brother, former NFL star Donovan McNabb.
Doctors initially found a cyst. They called back about a week later and told his mother, Charon Thompson, that it was a cancer called osteosarcoma, the third most common cancer in teens, according to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
She remembers her reaction to the news.
“Pretty classic, your heart stops. You can’t breathe,” Charon recalls. “My struggle, now to tell this, how do I fix my mouth to say those words to him?”
Charon spent hours with her husband Ryanm outside the house before they could go in to tell their Cade who was playing video games with a friend.
“With eight children, you became a bit arrogant as a mother,” said Charon. “You think you have it under control and then something like this happens, a cancer diagnosis just brings you back to zero. You realize you don’t know anything.”
“We’ll never forget that day,” Cade said.
That day and many after that were not easy for anyone, especially Cade.
There was “a lot of anger, frustration,” Charon recalls. “He kept asking, ‘Why me? Why me?’ My husband said, ‘Why not you? Why not us? Why should we be exempt from the trials that other people have to go through?’”
So, 15 days after his 16th birthday, Cade had surgery at the Riley Hospital for Children.
Five days later, he was on his feet with crutches, mask on because of the pandemic. Not bad, as doctors took part of the bone from his healthy right leg along with a donor bone to help heal the bone in the left leg where the cancer cells had been removed.
When he finally left the hospital, his father’s office in the front room was transformed because Cade couldn’t climb the stairs. He hung a photo of Bora Bora on the wall as motivation, part of his bucket list.
He is currently in remission. After another five years, he can say he is cancer-free.
But Saturday night he represents so many others who cannot say the same.
Cade is one of five Riley patients who will pitch first field this season as part of an ongoing sponsorship with the team.
“It’s an honor to represent Riley Hospital and all the children in it,” Cade said.
So it’s a diagnosis that Cade refuses to define.
So on a hot summer night Saturday, his throw to home plate wasn’t bad for a high school midfielder with a little limp for now, yes, but someone who can’t wait to get back on the diamond, the grid, the field, the track and the pool as fast as he can.
“Good posture really goes a long way. It really helps you,” Cade said. “It showed me that nothing is promised. You have to live your life to the fullest because you never know what will happen.”
Cade plans to see Ben Davis in person in the fall, but take a year off from high school athletics to allow his body to recover.
Meanwhile, his family decided to take this opportunity to give something back. Instead of accepting the team’s block of tickets at a discounted price, friends and family paid full price with a portion of the ticket going to osteosarcoma research.