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Amon-Ra St. Brown gifts jersey to HS player fighting cancer
Huntley’s Lucas Gidelski was diagnosed with cancer in October and his story touched the heart of his favorite NFL player, Detroit Lions’ star Amon-Ra St. Brown. (Courtesy: Kandice Gidelski)

Amon-Ra St. Brown gifts jersey to HS player fighting cancer

DETROIT (BVM) – Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has many fans in the NFL and around the country. One such fan is Huntley High School freshman football player Lucas Gidelski. The quarterback recently finished his season throwing for 521 yards, six total touchdowns and three interceptions in nine games.

“He has been in football basically his entire life,” Lucas’ mom Kandice Gidelski said. “He started when he was about 5. He played flag football for about two years then we got him into tackle football at 7.”

Lucas Gidelski Huntley High School football
Lucas has played football since 5, beginning his high school career earlier this fall. (Courtesy: Kandice Gidelski)

How Lucas became a Lions fan is simple – he was born in Lapeer, Michigan before his family moved to Wisconsin and then Illinois in 2014. As Lucas has learned, it’s not easy being a Detroit sports fan in Illinois, but it’s nothing compared to the challenge he finds himself facing.  

In October, the 14-year-old was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, a form of cancer. Gidelski began his treatments shortly after his diagnosis, beginning chemotherapy that is set to take between eight and nine months.

“He had trouble breathing about a week prior, I just thought he was sick or had mono like the rest of the kids at school,” Kandice said. “On Saturday, the 29th, we noticed a lump in his throat. His neck area was swollen and that’s when we took him in and found he had a mass.

“I was devastated. I was crushed. We all were.”

Lucas Gidelski Huntley High School freshman quarterback
Lucas had just finished his freshman season with the Huntley Red Raiders when he was diagnosed with cancer. (Courtesy: Kandice Gidelski)

Given his challenge and love for football, one of Lucas’ cousins, Ryan Newcom, helped him make a journey to see the upcoming Detroit Lions game at Soldier Field in Chicago. Newcom played college football at Wayne State with current Lions linebacker Anthony Pittman and after Pittman heard Lucas’ story, he sent the family a gift box as well as sideline passes to the game.

During the team’s warmups, St. Brown met Lucas, clad in his No. 14 St. Brown jersey, and talked to him about his journey.

“I cried. It was very emotional for me. I think it was emotional for a lot of people,” Kandice said. “He had the best day of his life and he made memories he will never forget and memories that will last a lifetime for him. On top of it to see his smile, after him being diagnosed a couple of weeks ago and not seeing that smile as much, I would watch it over and over again.”

The moment stuck with St. Brown. During the game against the Bears, St. Brown recorded season highs with 10 receptions for 119 yards in the Lions’ 31-30 win. Despite his strong performance, St. Brown was determined to give back to the boy he met on the sideline before the game and so he turned to social media.

“We were all shocked, we did not expect that to come out of that, but I think it was honestly a shock,” Kandice said. “Lucas was even emotional after that time because he was like ‘I can’t believe I made such an impact on him that he wants to reach out to me again.”

It didn’t take long for St. Brown to receive his answer. Lucas’ father David responded to the star’s tweet just over an hour later with a picture of the two on the sidelines together.

“It truly is just heartwarming,” Kandice said. “To know he has so many things in his life as it is, I mean he’s a professional football player, and to know my kid made an impact on him and for him to take time out of his day to reach out. It was just amazing and it makes us want to be better people. I think it makes everyone want to be better people.”

While Lucas is in for a tough battle, he will have plenty of support around him. A relative has already set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with medical bills and it has already surpassed its $10,000 goal with over $21,000 as of this writing.

“Honestly words have not been able to express our support we’ve been given here,” Kandice said. “We don’t have family in the immediate area so we have to rely on our community a lot. It has been a kind of unreal experience for us. It makes me happy to know there are some amazing people out there and to know that whatever we need there is someone there to help us.”

Lucas doesn’t believe his football career is over yet though. He has his eyes set on playing in the future, even as early as next season.

“Our goal is for him to be back on the football field next year,” Kandice said. “It feels like a stretch to us at this point because we don’t know what his journey looks like for the next couple of months but his goal is to maintain his role on the football field.

Now, in addition to the donations made through the kindness of others, Lucas will also get the support of one of the Detroit Lions’ best players. As St. Brown leads the Lions through the second half of their 2022 campaign, he will be doing so knowing that one of his biggest fans will be watching him fight on the field as he does the same off of it.