Stephen Loszewski has spent the last three-and-a-half years battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a type of bone marrow cancer in which too many immature white blood cells are made.
Throughout the chemotherapy and countless trips to the hospital, Loszewski never gave up in his cancer fight and last Tuesday, the cancer fighter got to experience a dream come true thanks to the Michigan Wolverines, ESPN and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The 18-year-old from Grain Valley, Mo. grew up a fan of Michigan thanks to his father, Greg, and his son Stephen got to be the biggest recruit for Michigan and lead the team onto the field and touch the infamous “GO BLUE” banner at midfield of Michigan Stadium in a moment that will never be forgotten.
“Once I hit the ground and realized I hadn’t fallen, I took a second to look around me,” Loszewski later said. “I’ve got to say, it was pretty breathtaking to go from years of watching it on TV, whether it be from my house or a hospital room, and then to stand on the field … that was, uh … I don’t even know if I’ve realized it yet.”
It was the cancer diagnosis in 2011 that ended Loszewski’s high school football career after his freshman season so when he submitted his wish to the foundation, there could only be one wish, he wanted to be a Wolverine recruit for a day.
The foundation complied and then as Stephen’s mother, Krsisi said, “Then it snowballed.” From mlive.com:
A few weeks back, Jake Long knocked on Loszewski’s door. The current St. Louis Rams offensive tackle and former Michigan Wolverine arrived armed with letters from U-M coaches to begin the recruiting process. The two sat in the family living room talking about football and life and everything in between.
Just like that, Loszewski’s wish grew legs.
“When Jake Long came to my house, I basically left myself open to just about anything that could happen,” he said.
Stephen arrived in Ann Arbor last Tuesday where he toured the Michigan campus, had a film session with Wolverine coaches, met one-on-one with head coach Brady Hoke and had lunch with lunch quarterback Devin Gardner and linebacker Jake Ryan.
Then the big moment came when he led got to lead the team out on onto the Big House while wearing a No. 57 jersey wit his name adorned on the back in the iconic Michigan helmet.
“It’s amazing what people have done for my little old son,” Greg Loszewski said.
Stephen Loszewski addressed his new teammates at the 50-yard line, “I want to do battle with you gentlemen,” he said.
As if things could not get any better for the top recruit, Michigan Heisman winner, Desmond Howard, surprised Stephen and told him to make it official and pick the Wolverines as if it were National Signing Day and he was picking Michigan from the likes of Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State.
There was no hesitation as he reached for the Maize and Blue helmet.
“I want to say, this decision could not have been less difficult.”
“I’m going to go with the Big Blue.”
— Desmond Howard (@DesmondHoward) June 25, 2014
Stephen is a Michigan man and he drew inspiration from the players that just made him feel like one of their own as he battled cancer, which is currently in remission after his latest exam revealed clean cells and he’ll celebrate his “cure day” on July 24.
“It’s just perfect that this all happened …,” Stephen said, “right at the end.”
A perfect day for a child and a family who have not had many of them in the past three-and-a-half years.
[Check out a photo gallery from Stephen's day at MIchigan at Mlive.com]