USMNT vs Mexico VW CHAMP Player Honoree: Anthony

November 12th 2021 Concacaf World Cup Qualifier – USMNT v. Mexico – Cincinnati, OH
Anthony was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in March 2017 at 2 years of age. He is an engaging, happy, sweet, active 7-year-old boy who completed cancer treatment at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) in August 2020. Prior to his Leukemia diagnosis, Anthony was an active soccer player.

The Leukemia diagnosis, coupled with the grueling 3.5 years of treatment, adversely impaired Anthony's physical function. Not only did he miss an entire year of school and lose his hair, but Anthony lost bone density, lost lean muscle mass, battled motor neuropathy, fatigue, muscle weakness, and impaired fitness/endurance. He is now in "rehabilitation" mode with weekly occupational therapy (he graduated from weekly physical therapy in May 2021) and regular exercise.

He idolizes his 10-year-old brother Sarkis, who is an absolute soccer fanatic and a proud member of Atletico Southern California, a youth soccer club. Anthony’s life-changing cancer battle has inspired Sarkis to enlist Atletico’s support (the entire organization!) to raise funds in support of CHLA’s life saving work through the hospital’s Junior Ambassador program. A powerful model of kids helping kids.

Sarkis regularly coaches Anthony on the game and plays soccer with him. Anthony said, “Cancer made me feel different from other kids my age and like I was on the ‘outside’. Now I can do what the other kids can do. As my Mom says, ‘It’s not about winning or losing – all that matters is that I work hard and try my best!’”

Anthony and Sarkis are members of CoachArt, an organization whose mission is to create transformative arts and athletics community for families impacted by childhood chronic illness. CoachArt supports families by offering free recreational lessons which bring a sense of normalcy back into their lives.