On Friday, April 14, Matt Lampson spent time visiting with a young member of the Fire family who is currently battling cancer.
The younger brother of Fire U-13 Academy player Mateo Canales, 10-year-old Oliver was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age three. Oliver went into remission but relapsed three years later in 2013, and again in August of 2016. Earlier this year, the Canales family learned that the leukemia had made its way into Oliver’s spinal fluid, causing him to lose vision in his left eye. A few weeks later, an ear infection caused hearing loss in both of his ears.
Though Matt had led the entire first team in recording a video message in a show of support for Oliver, the Fire goalkeeper added his trademark personal touch and headed to the Canales household for a visit, armed with gifts of his own signed jersey and a team autographed soccer ball.
While still weak from a recent five-week stay at the hospital, Oliver and his family welcomed Matt into their home where the two spent time trading messages on white boards. A Batman fanatic, Oliver was able to show off his room and his meticulously collected Pop! figures, even gifting Matt with one his revered Pop! toys as a small token of their visit.
Although Oliver has endured many hospital stays, surgeries, countless rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, and a multitude of setbacks and more pain than one child should ever endure, his mother Rebecca, in an email to club staff, said that Oliver “despite it all, is still our firecracker! Somehow he climbs his way back each time and shows us all what it takes to be a fighter.”
So for one morning Oliver got to spend time with a new friend, a welcome distraction from the grueling fight ahead of him. Matt was so grateful to have had the opportunity to socialize with such a warrior, and to help Ollie feel like a normal kid again, even just for a second.