ATTLEBORO (CBS) — A Pop Warner football game between two longtime rivals was about more than bragging rights Wednesday.

It was ” for our friend Leo. He needs some special help and we’re doing a fundraiser to help him and his parents,” explained eight-year-old Ryan Burdette from North Attleboro.

His teammate, Leo Larocque was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma.

Leo’s coach said the boy is a fighter, though.

Leo joins his teammates on crutches (WBZ-TV)

“He’s one of the toughest kids on the team. If you see him in stature he’s small but he’s got a big heart. He’s one of the most coachable kids. He’s a leader of the team,” said White Mites Coach Chad Carges.

Attleboro coaches actually came up with the idea to fundraise.

“We’re rivals on the field, but this supersedes all. Nothing has really ever happened like this, just seemed to me that it was a good opportunity to give back,” explained Assistant Attleboro Coach Scott Wilkins.

A Pop Warner’s football team in Attleboro paints the number 9 on their helmets to support their teammate battling cancer (WBZ_TV)

“We have his number on our helmets. His number is #9. And it’s kind of like a special number for us now,” said nine-year-old Ryan Thompson, another one of Leo’s teammates.

The White Mites won for Leo, and together the towns raised $6,000.

“Everyone is coming together and it’s for our baby. That means the world to us honestly. We can’t say thank you enough,” said Heather Ripley, Leo’s mom.

Leo had a tough time sitting on the sidelines but was thankful for the support.

“I just feel very supported and I’m blessed to have an awesome support system,” he said. “I’m gonna beat it.”

If you would like to donate to Leo’s fight, visit his GoFundMe page.


Leave a Reply