Chicago Cubs Draft Lifelong Fan & Cancer Survivor
1,177. That's how many players were chosen before Pierson Gibis in last week's Major League Baseball draft. But he may be the best pick of them all.
In August 2016, just before his senior year at Wauconda High School in suburban Chicago, Gibis began experiencing serious back pain and sensed something was wrong. His suspicions were confirmed when scans revealed a tumor in his pelvis and next to his spine. Pierson was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer that attacked his muscles and connective tissue. According to MLB.com, he couldn't go to school for 65 weeks and had to take online classes to graduate. And his dream of receiving a college baseball scholarship was in serious doubt.
However, Pierson finished chemotherapy in October and radiation treatment in November, and he began working out again in December. Last month he committed to play baseball at Madison College, a community college in Wisconsin. And last week, the Chicago Cubs selected Gibis in the 39th round of the MLB Amateur Draft.
Gibis told The Daily Herald, "I can't wait to see where it takes me," he said. "It gets my name out there, regardless, no matter what happens."
The lifelong Cubs fan also wants his favorite team to know he's more than simply a feel-good story.
"I want them to know that I can play. And though I might not be 100% quite yet, I'm going to get there. I'm going to be better than I was before and come back stronger."
I certainly wouldn't bet against him.