An 8-year-old Wheaton boy battling a brain tumor will be inducted as the newest member of the St. Viator High School lacrosse team when it plays its first game today on the new synthetic turf field at Forest View Educational Center.
The Lions, off to a 3-0 start and reigning East Suburban Catholic Conference champions, face conference foe Marian Catholic High School from Chicago Heights at 6:30 p.m. at 2121 S. Goebbert Road in Arlington Heights.
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Dylan Full, 8, and his family will be introduced at halftime, when he also will be inducted as the newest Lion. To celebrate the addition to the team, the Lions will be wearing gray, the color of brain cancer awareness, on the back of their helmets, the saying "full hearts." The team will present Dylan with team memorabilia and allow him to help out throughout the game.
"This promises to be a special event for one special boy," Coach Bill Sandford said. "Our boys will be his new teammates offering friendship to him along his journey, but I know the entire community will be interested in his story and fight against cancer."
Dylan is battling medulloblastoma, a fast growing brain tumor. It was discovered during a routine eye exam, when his ophthalmologist observed that one of his optic nerves was swollen. He recommended an MRI, Dylan's mother, Laurie Full, said.
"The MRI revealed a tumor in the posterior fossa and right then and there our lives were forever changed," Full said.
Two days later, Dylan underwent a nine-hour surgery that removed most of the tumor, and he underwent six weeks of daily radiation to his brain and spine, followed by nine cycles of chemotherapy.
"It's been a long and challenging road, but Dylan is six months out of treatment and doing extremely well," Full said.
He is in second grade and undergoes routine brain and spine scans every three months.
Sanford and the team learned about Dylan through Friends of Jaclyn, whose mission it is to improve the lives of pediatric cancer patients by linking them with sports teams.
"Our participation in their organization is a way for us to live out the mission of the school," Sanford said. "At the same time, Dylan will help energize and inspire our kids to work hard."