Last April, then-senior Sammy May ran in from the outfield at Steinbrenner’s baseball stadium for the last time. It was a loss to Gaither in the district tournament that abruptly ended the season for the Warriors, but May’s story had just begun.
In early July, May reported to Kings Point, New York to begin the indoctrination (Indoc) program at the Merchant Marine Academy, which is two weeks of physical, moral and regimental training designed for the incoming “plebes”—that is, new recruits. On Aug. 3, however, May began his chemotherapy for Adult T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-cell ALL).
“Sammy had successfully completed 17 days of ‘Indoc’ and had started classes. During the 2nd week of Indoc, he started with a cough,” said his mother Debbie May.
“May made mention that he had trouble breathing when he would eat and when he went to bed, said his mother. After running a 5K race on Saturday July 28, the coughing increased and he went to the infirmary on Monday July 30. Monday afternoon, he was admitted to North Shore University Hospital. After a CT Scan was done, a baseball-sized tumor was discovered sitting on his trachea…I was able to make it on a 7 p.m. flight (Monday night) and was with him by 10 p.m.”
“Just to be having (Debbie May) call saying (Sammy) needs to get checked, and two days later he’s in the hospital is terrible for someone so young and vibrant,” said John Crumbley, Steinbrenner’s baseball coach. “His two older brothers played for me at Jesuit, so I have a long long history with the family, and I’m a lot closer than a lot of situations.”
According to a health guide article by the New York Times, May has been diagnosed with “one of the most curable cancers.” Since May is a young adult and his cancer was found early, he has a strong chance to beat the disease.
“(Sammy) has always been a fighter,” said Crumbley.
The May’s family friend, Patrice Eveld, has been the chief coordinator of all the fundraisers in the Tampa area, such as the event at the Red Elephant, where she sold out of “Stay Strong Sammy” wristbands. There are a large number of options and opportunities to support Sammy May and his family during his fight with cancer. To see all of them, visit Caring Bridge and type in “sammymay” (no spaces) in the “Visit A Site” search bar.
“Sammy has handled this the most amazing way so far,” said Debbie. “The support from all of his friends and family back home has been overwhelming. This and the power of the prayers from family and friends will keep him strong and help all of us through this battle.”
Zealand Shannon / Co-Sports Editor