I was approached by a good friend with the request that I write about what was happening at Monroe-Woodbury High School in his hometown. My initial reaction was “I don’t write based on solicitations.” Then I read the story and got the facts. Every so often I run across stories or causes that I think need to be shared with others. Each one of us will face trials and tribulations in our lifetime. The more people that can rally around us, the easier the fight. Vinny Vespa is that person right now.
Vinny is a 14 year old kid from New York who had the world at his feet two weeks ago. A 9th grader, wrestling on Varsity, on his way to represent the state of New York at the National Championships in North Dakota this July. For a kid who had been wrestling his entire life he wanted nothing but to be a champion.
After clinching his spot on the state team, Vinny went to the doctor to find out why he had been getting short of breath all season. The answer was the worst case scenario. Vinny is believed to have Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma. Think about that….a kid who dominated all season on the wrestling mat (31-8 record) did it with stage 4 cancer and only 50% of his normal breathing capacity.
Usually stories like this end with an athlete who moves out of the limelight and begins the battle to merely survive. Vinny appears to have a different idea in mind. According to his supporters Vinny is “cancer’s worst nightmare.” Everything said about him speaks to his character and determination. This kid isn’t worried about surviving, he still wants that national championship.
Think he is going to battle alone? Forget it, that’s where Team VinnyV comes in. Within 48 hours of creating a Twitter account (@teamVinnyV) he had over 1,220 followers. He should break 2,000 today. His family and friends have gotten T-shirts made and organized fundraising events. This 14 year old has served as an inspiration to his community due to his persistence and never die attitude. While both Section IX Wrestling and New York Wrestling News have covered the story, TeamVinnyV would like to get national coverage. We can help them do that.
Please tweet at or about TeamVinnyV. Share this blog post or the other stories. Tell people about Vinny. Buy a t-shirt. Hound ESPN and Sportscenter until they can’t ignore TeamVinnyV anymore. These stories need to be shared. Vinny needs any help you can give him….are you game?