Salisbury , Md. - Everything is going great for the Sea Gulls this year. An undefeated season, in contention for a national championship. But as they fight together as a team, something is missing. Number 6, Alex Nieves is not with them. He can't be, he's at home in Virginia fighting his own battle. Leukemia.
It stunned the whole Salisbury University community, but like a championship team they aren't giving up. Instead, they are fighting back. The men's and women's lacrosse teams are collecting donations for a fundraiser called "Lax for Leukemia". They hope to raise $6,000 to match the #6 on Alex's jersey. And at each game, members with the Leukemia and lymphoma society are helping people register as possible bone marrow donors. It only takes a swab of the mouth.
Alex may be home dealing with his painful spinal taps and blood treatments, but he is very much a part of the team. His number six jersey is on the bench at every game and his number six is on the field, it's on every helmet the team wears.
Erik Krum, a JR. attack man is one of Alex's closest friends. He wants Alex to know his team is in this battle with him.
"I know he feels alone, but the whole university, everybody knows about him. There's another family other than his immediate family."
Shawn Zordani has 22 goals and 16 assists on the year, but his best assist may be the one off the field." When we do well against good teams and blow out some other teams, we do it for Al to put a smile on his face."
Coach Jim Berkman says Alex didn't get the number 6 by accident.
"The last numer six was my son who was an All American national champion, before that it was Jeff Bigas, three time All American. Alex was that kind of guy.
Coach Berkman has his son's jersey framed in his basement where he watches game film every night. That jersey has a different meaning now.
"As much as i think about my son, when I see that jersey, I see Alex's face. Shaw Zordani says, "We're doing this for ourselves but we want to win this national championship for Alex so he has something to smile about as he's going through this difficult time."
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