Every year in the U.S., more than 10,000 children are diagnosed with cancer. The rising amount of cancer victims is a serious problem. Logan Simmons, a high school football player and cancer survivor, plans to raise awareness for kids with cancer and address this issue.
Logan has already traveled to Washington, D.C. There he talked with representatives from his home state of Tennessee about the needs of childhood cancer survivors, advocating for the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research (STAR) Act. (The bill, which has 19 cosponsors in the Senate and 215 in the House, is awaiting a hearing date.)
On Logan’s trip to D.C., five of his supporters joined him and shaved their heads as an act of unity with kids who have cancer.
At the age of eight, Logan decided he wanted to play football in the NFL. But when he was diagnosed with cancer, his dream no longer seemed to be a reality.
Logan was diagnosed in January 2009, at the age of 10. Although he was devastated, he would not give up his dream of one day playing in the NFL.
Logan had Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that grows in your bones or soft tissue around the bones. About 200 children or young adults every year suffer from Ewing’s sarcoma.
After a hard fight with the disease, Simmons was announced cancer-free by the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. “[Cancer] gave me another reason to keep on going,” says the 16-year-old Simmons.
Now six years after his treatment, Logan plays football at Riverdale High School on the JV team as a sophomore. He hopes to continue playing football and get to the NFL.
Logan plays different positions, including defensive line and offensive line. He started almost every game last season, which is quite amazing considering that he has no shoulder blade or rotator cuff, which were removed due to his cancer.
“It makes it harder to lift weights,” says Logan. Off the field, Logan has been an Honored Kid at St. Baldrick’s for seven years, sharing his story with others and trying to raise awareness for his disease. On the field, Logan is a star starting lineman.
Logan isn’t the only one in his family to play football. His father, Josh, played football in high school and won a national championship as a weightlifter. Logan also has many memories of watching football games when he was young.
Derek Barnett is one of the players Logan admires. Barnett was recently drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 14th pick. Barnett played at Tennessee, one of Logan’s favorite teams, as a defensive end.
Logan’s goal is to help childhood cancer survivors cope with their medical issues.
Photographs courtesy of the Simmons Family