FULLERTON, Calif. – Eleven year old Niko Greco officially joined the Cal State Fullerton men's soccer team on Thursday evening after signing his Letter of Commitment during a press conference held at Titan Stadium.
Upon signing his commitment letter, Head Coach George Kuntz and the rest of the team gave Niko a jersey with the all-important No. 10 on the back. Kuntz then teld Niko, "you becoming apart of this team is a forever thing. Once a Titan, always a Titan."
"Having Niko a part of this team is something really special for us. He is an inspiration to all of us of what perseverance and motivation looks like," said junior Sam Molz. "He's someone everyone on the team can look up to, he embodies what a Titan is."
About Niko: For all those that have been honored to know Niko over his short life thus far, they would tell you he has some great loves. Fortnite and Hockey are his favorite along with Pat Maroon of the St Louis Blues. Niko is a spirited, loving and outgoing young man and over the past five years, he has been dubbed a WARRIOR. Niko's warrior spirit has shown through his 3.5 years of fighting Very High Risk Leukemia.
On January 5th 2014 Niko was taken to the ER for bloodwork to be taken as he had been sick with a virus and pain in his arm so extreme he couldn't lift it and no doctor could explain why. Three hours later the doctors came in with answers...Niko had Leukemia.
Niko had a port implanted above his heart where his high doses of chemotherapy were administered and blood draws taken over the 3.5 years. He has had over 32 blood and platelet transfusions. He endured over 30 painful chemotherapy shots in his thighs. There were months where he spent more time in the hospital than out. Niko had stroke like side effects from the chemotherapy and it continues to cause pain and neuropathy in his legs.
The psychological torment was the worst part as it was unseen. Fortunately, therapy and EDMR treatments have helped Niko cope and heal. Almost two years post treatment, Niko is still seen every few months checking his blood and ensuring the cancer is gone. All this, but you will always find a smile on his face and an infectious smile with quick witted humor.
This journey is not for Niko alone. His tremendous heart for others is displayed when he delivers backpacks to CHOC. He and his family created a backpack of essentials, comfort, and fun for warriors battling like Niko did-all on his request. They will continue to provide HOPE in backpacks until one day there is a cure.
ABOUT TEAM IMPACT: Team IMPACT (Inspire, Motivate, and Play Against Challenges Together) improves the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team. They do this by matching courageous kids with local college athletic teams. Team IMPACT children are drafted onto the team and become an official member of that team from signing day through graduation. The child joins the athletic team and the student-athletes join the child's support team. The child gains great strength, comradery and support and the student-athletes are taught lessons about courage, resiliency and life perspective that they can't learn in a classroom. Through a structured relationship management methodology, Team IMPACT establishes and cultivates these relationships to ensure a successful experience for the families and teams involved.
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Fans can purchase tickets for various Cal State Fullerton athletic events by visiting FullertonTitans.com/Tickets.The Athletic Ticket Office can also be contacted by phone at 657-278- 2783 or by emailat firstname.lastname@example.org. The Ticket Office is located at the Titan House off of Gymnasium Drive at theeastern end of the Intramural Fields and is open from 10 am – 4 pm PT, Monday – Friday.
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Fans can keep up with the latest in Titan Athletics by following us on Facebook (Facebook/FullertonTitans), Twitter (@FullertonTitans) and Instagram (FullertonTitans). In addition, the men's soccer team has established its own Twitter (@FullertonMSOC), and Instagram accounts (@fullertonmsoc).