MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When we consider the things we are thankful for this time of the year, good health is high on the list for many of us.
A young man we met Wednesday is happy that he will be at home tomorrow for Thanksgiving after dealing with cancer surgery and chemotherapy.
Nick Manzoni was a star soccer player on the Orono High School team until doctors discovered a tumor in his right leg. He wasn’t able to play during his senior year, but stayed on as a team captain and an unofficial assistant coach.
Manzoni still hopes to play the game he loves in college.
Manzoni has some of his favorite goals on video, loaded into his computer. There are lots of family photos as well, documenting a soccer career that started at an early age.
“I didn’t really think the surgery would be that huge of a thing until we started talking to the doctor more. I realized it would be six months until i could play again, however long,” Manzoni said.
His friends and teammates help him keep up with his classes, which is difficult because Nick spends three days a week at Amplatz Children’s Hospital.
On the soccer field the whole team missed Nick’s ability to score.
“We obviously thought we had a chance to go to state again,” said Ben Engler, a teammate of Nick’s. “We still had a decent season, but, I don’t know, we probably could have done quite a bit better with Nick.”
Nick’s goal right now is to get well so he can get back to soccer and find a college. It’s that positive attitude that’s inspiring those who love him most.
“He’s my hero and if I ever feel like getting down I just look at him and I see he’s just forging ahead. He gives me strength and I think he gives a lot of people around him strength,” said his mom Deborah Manzoni.
Deborah said Thanksgiving dinner will come fully prepared from Lund’s. She’s doing that to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with her son. Nick hopes to start playing soccer again by next summer.