Football players honor teammate with leukemia - Dallas News |

Football players honor teammate with leukemia

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The varsity football team at Grace Preparatory Academy will recognize a junior high player Friday night with an "orange out," the color signifying his battle with leukemia.

Ethan Tepera is on his way to a full recovery after being diagnosed with leukemia a year ago. He's had some tough times, though.

He underwent a bone marrow transplant in August. He then spent more than 60 days in isolation at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.

But two weeks ago an entire community of supporters in Arlington welcomed him home.

"Now what happens is his immune system rebuilds. He needs to get his weight back up. His white blood cells also mature so they can fight infections like yours and mine can," said James Tepera, the 13-year-old's father.

During Friday night's game, Ethan's teammates will wear his number on the back of their helmets.

"Ethan Tepera is an exceptional young man. More than his athletic prowess, he's a member of the football family," said Coach Richard Reed.

The Teperas have been fighting not only to heal their son, but also to help others. During Ethan's search for a marrow match they raised awareness of the need for minority donors.

They are now asking people to give again. Monetary donations collected during the game will go to a fund they've set up to help other families with cancer.

Also, non-latex Halloween costumes will be donated Children's Medical Center so that the kids being treated there can have a happy Halloween.


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