On Wednesday night, North Olmsted Senior Samer Babi received the Courage Award at the Cleveland Sports Awards.
When asked to define the word “courage,” Babi said, “Courage, I would say, is knowing what is ahead and still charging forward through it."
Babi couples his courage with a smile.
“It’s kind of who I am. I don’t think I am ever really sad. I just enjoy wherever I am. I just enjoy the people around me,” he said.
On May 12th, 2017, when Babi was just 17 years old, he was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS), which is a rare form of soft tissue cancer. It spread to his bones.
While he currently receives weekly treatment, Babi has tried to keep his life as normal as possible.
“I try to be the same guy I was before,” he explained. "I like to hang out with all my friends like I did before all this.”
He also remained on the football team. Despite the fact that he could not play this season, he still led his peers as a captain.
“It sucks having your senior year taken away. There is nothing you can do about that,” he said. "Be a part of the team, that's all I wanted."
Football is one of Babi’s passions.
“I just really like to hit. I can’t catch. I can’t run with the ball. I am just really good at hitting,” he said.
The mentality required to be a linebacker has helped him through his cancer diagnosis.
“You got to always be the one attacking. That is how you should play as a linebacker and how you should play as a cancer patient.”
While he is still fighting cancer, he has learned that he is already tougher than his opponent.
“I think I learned a lot about myself. I learned how strong I am. This kind of situation you see what you can handle, and I think I have handled it pretty well."
While his courage became apparent with the way he handled his cancer diagnosis, his smile has always been there because he still enjoys what he’s always valued most.
“Life, I absolutely do value it most. Every day I just try to appreciate everything that I have.”