We celebrate “I Am A Mentor Day” with this uplifting story about one NFL Player who stepped in to support a child with a parent fighting cancer.

For families with a member who is battling cancer, life can seem lonely. The trials and tribulations of such a scary disease can be very intense—how could anyone who hasn’t gone through them understand?

Walk With Sally is an organization founded to provide loving support to children whose parents or siblings are fighting cancer, and they helped make a very special match between two people who could understand one another’s experience personally. Will Svitek, a former NFL professional, lost his father to cancer when he was just 31. He joined Walk With Sally for the express purpose of mentoring youngsters who were struggling in similar situations. That’s how he met Rocco.

“I felt like, really lonely,” Rocco says of the time after he learned that his mother Danette had breast cancer. “And I couldn’t talk to anybody about it, because I felt like nobody would understand.”

“Then Will came, and he changed it all.”

Will and Rocco bonded instantly, according to both sides. The two spent time together that could be quiet or active, but was always helpful in healing the wounds and fears that Rocco carried around while living life with a parent who has cancer. While it is Will who is giving his time to Rocco—it’s both who are reaping the rewards.

Of the impact that he’s able to make through Walk With Sally, Will says: “It’s a part of life, the bigger game of life, when it comes to cancer and how it’s affected our families.”

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending: today, Danette is cancer-free! Watch and see how this unusual duo, joined to help Rocco heal, are now forever linked as friends.

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