Whenever someone throws one right over the plate, you think to yourself, “Oh, that’s nice.” There aren’t many people, though, who are allowed to do something like that because of something they’ve done, endured and survived.
Luke Strotman has been diagnosed with leukemia three times, and has survived each one. He’s earned it.
After being visited by current Cubs players Tony Campana and Anthony Rizzo during his most recent fight, the Cubs sent him a video featuring Campana, Rizzo and the team’s owner, Tom Ricketts, inviting him to sit in the seat closest to the Cubs dugout and to throw out the first pitch at any game he wanted after he was cancer-free.
After being diagnosed as cancer-free earlier this week, Luke, along with his brother, and co-founder of the Marquette basketball blog “Paint Touches” Mark Strotman, and the rest of his family, headed to Wrigley for his ceremonial first pitch. Ironically, Luke is a Cubs fan and his brother is a Brewers fan, so the matchup between the two was perfect for the Strotman family.
Mark’s work in making people aware of Luke’s situation has been absolutely incredible. Luke’s page has 1,373 likes on Facebook, and through Mark’s personal Twitter account and Paint Touches, he raised even more awareness. Also, through Marquette basketball message boards like Marquette Hoops and MU Scoop, Mark introduced even more people to Luke, and in the process got more and more people to start praying for his brother as he fought leukemia.
On Luke’s Facebook page in mid- to late July, many people were posting their messages of encouragement. I don’t know if everyone knew him, and I doubt all of them did. I am sure there are many who heard about the fight Luke was up against and wanted to send their support. Someone like Luke who is up against something as awful as he was deserves as much support as he can gather, and thanks to his brother he got a whole lot more than he probably expected.
I tweeted about the situation a few weeks ago expressing how amazing the work Mark has done for his brother is, but I didn’t think I did it justice. So many people we all know are affected by some sort of cancer, so to hear about Luke’s third fight against leukemia and his success yet again is refreshing and puts a big smile on your face. A story of perseverance and determination like this would make anyone feel better.
I’m by no means a Cubs fan, but it was absolutely phenomenal how the team got in contact with Luke and let him do something we all have dreamed about doing. He more than earned it.
If there’s one thing you should remember about this story, it should be to remain extremely grateful for those around you and those who are there for you when things get rough. And always stay strong when things get rough. There are people going through experiences like Luke’s who demonstrate true strength and determination and whom we all should admire.