Teen plays ball after battling cancer

Dylan Dusek was part of Sunshine Kids

Published On: Apr 24 2012 04:34:50 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 24 2012 11:31:18 AM CDT
HOUSTON -

A teenager's dream to play baseball came true, but his journey to the field wasn't easy.

Dylan Dusek is a junior at Fort Bend Kempner High School. Every swing he takes packs a punch.

"Every step that he takes on the baseball field is a win," coach Mark Jones said.

Dusek battled leukemia between the ages 3 and 6. He spent much of his time at Texas Children's Hospital undergoing chemotherapy.

"I looked around at all the nurses, doctors, all the cords hooked up around me, and I was just like, 'What is this?' I knew it wasn't the normal life because all the other kids were having fun."

Dusek adopted a "will not lose" mentality.

"Every day in the hospital bed or at home, they always came up to me and said, 'You're going to get through this,'" Dusek said. "I always had in my head, 'I will get through this.'"

"Whenever I think of adversity, Dylan Dusek is the kid that comes to the front of my mind because he's had to deal with so much in his life," Jones said.

Dusek became one of the Sunshine Kids, a nonprofit group that brings joy to children with cancer.

Houston Astros star Craig Biggio was a big supporter of the Sunshine Kids, and he and Dusek formed a bond.

"Sunshine Kids are part of my family," Biggio said. "We all know each other, and a lot of those kids I have great relationships with."

Biggio is a hero to many, but more so to Dusek.

"He's a great encouragement," Dusek said. "Every time I see him he'll just be like, 'Hey, how you doing? I remember you.'"

Eleven years have passed since Dusek's days as a Sunshine Kid, but he wears No. 7 for the Fort Bend Kempner Cougars in honor of Biggio. He also reintroduced himself to Biggio when he took on St. Thomas High School, the school that Biggio coaches.

"Before the game, I was like, 'A Sunshine Kid! Alright, good, OK -- let's go out there and beat him,'" Biggio said. "Next thing you know, he threw a shutout, complete game. He had the last laugh. It was all good, so we're happy for him."

Dusek is healthy and thriving on and off the field.

Dusek hasn't forgotten about his days at Texas Children's Hospital. Once a year, on follow-up visits with doctors, he now pays a visit to children there to give them encouragement and prove that everything can be OK.