FOXBORO (CBS) — Hundreds of fans gathered to cheer on Zach Cummings at Gillette Stadium as he was drafted on to the Tufts University football team.

The 15-year-old Saugus native will attend practices, games, dinners, and any other events the team holds. His position on the team was made possible by Team Impact, a Quincy-based nonprofit that helps connect kids fighting life-threatening and chronic illnesses with the support system of a college sports team.

Zach was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma (ALL) in January. He is now in remission.

Zach Cummings (WBZ-TV)

“I’m speechless, to be honest with you. This is maybe the greatest day of my life,” said Zach.

On Tuesday, Zach was given his gear and welcomed to the team by Tufts Football Head Coach Jay Civetti, and Team IMPACT Co-Founder Dan Kraft.

He also got a few surprises from another team he loves: the New England Patriots.

Robert Kraft, Zach, and his family with the Vince Lombardi trophy (WBZ-TV)

“I got to meet Robert Kraft and hold the trophy. I got to wear him and Tom Brady’s Super Bowl rings, it’s just an experience I could never imagine.”

Dan Kraft said that Tufts was gaining an invaluable team member.

“They’ll see what he’s gone through, the treatments, the chemo. He never complains. He’s kind of a Belichick kind of kid. He’s gritty and tough, he’s smart. He doesn’t let adversity get him down,” explained Kraft.

Zach with his family and official Tufts gear (WBZ-TV)

Sean Cummings, Zach’s dad, said, “[Zach] goes to the Jimmy Fund twice a week. It’s tough, real tough. Hopefully, around Christmas time, they’re going to cut back on his medicine by 2/3 and that will allow him to get back to a bit of a more normal life.”

For Zach, getting back to a normal life would include attending St. Mary’s for his sophomore year.

“We getting through it,” said Zach. “Got to keep the smile.”


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