St. Joseph High School student Mattox Williams' cancer battle

NOW: St. Joseph High School student Mattox Williams’ cancer battle

ST. JOSEPH, Mich -- Mattox Williams battles cancer while fighting for other pediatric cancer patients like himself.

17-year-old Mattox Williams was first diagnosed with osteosarcoma cancer in early 2022, before playing his final basketball game.

Two weeks ago, basketball fans gathered at Saint Joe high school in Berrien County for a special fundraiser put on by Mattox hosting "Hoops for Hope". Raising money for other pediatric cancer survivors and to honor the health care heroes who help them fight the disease.  

It’s rare to see someone in so much pain dedicate his time and energy to bring happiness to everyone else.  

“It's just amazing how people can come together,” Mattox said.

Uniting at the request of Mattox Williams, to start a fundraiser he created.

“The funds for this event will go to hope and I say that literally meaning hope. Because what they will go to is these units and these floors on for the cancer units and the cancer floors, at these hospitals. They're dreary, they're depressing. They drag you down,” Mattox added.

In the midst of being down himself, Mattox called Kim Capela, a family friend, to help organize Hoops for Hope.

His support system and all of Saint Joe High went the extra mile.   

“We're selling bracelets, t-shirts, baked goods, 50/50 raffle, behind me is someone who's made some earrings and they're selling those. So just like a bunch of just different little ways that people can donate and we can fundraise some money for this game for Mattox,” Kim mentioned.

Not just any game. A rivalry matchup between the Lakeshore Lancers and Saint Joe, known as the “War by the Shore”.

“Obviously, I'm coming out supporting the game but tonight there's a bigger, there's a bigger thing than just a basketball game here tonight. We're here to support Mattox," Lakeshore student Jacob Chellman said.

“Two rivals are coming together to support Mattox and the cause of, you know, cancer and all the things that are a challenge for anybody that's dealing with that at any age, and you could not find anybody to represent that fight better than Mattox,” Mattox’s varsity basketball coach Gregg Schaffer added.

A gymnasium full of tears, joy, family, friends, and strangers.  

“Along my journey, there's been a lot of ups and downs. But I think when it comes down to it, I think you have to look and say I mean, you got to look at it. And you got to say this is an issue,” Mattox said.

“Mattox Williams is, he's brave, he's smart. He's super smiley, kindhearted, and he just thinks about everybody else,” Caplea added.

“He's just one of the nicest kids I know. Very friendly, very outgoing and nice. I would have never thought that this would have happened to one of my friends and it's just really sad,” Mattox’s friend Bobby Delong mentioned.

Before his varsity teammates took the court, Mattox gave the crowd a speech. Spreading awareness about pediatric cancer, expressing his gratitude, and informing everyone of his battle with cancer. 

And while Mattox fears he may only have a short amount of time left, he refuses to be defeated by the disease. 

“So, this is us saying pediatric cancer can't stop us. And that we're fighting and that we're going to keep fighting, and that nothing can stop. Nothing can stop us. And that if we keep fighting, and if we keep spreading awareness, that maybe one day that kids won't have to lose legs and kids won't have to, to experience what I've have, Mattox said.

Recently Mattox’s mother Amber Williams made a Facebook post, mentioning Mattox would soon be meeting with hospice care nurses, as his battle with cancer is running out of treatment options.

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