Athlete of the Week: Michael Dandan

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Few things make Michael Dandan happier than putting on his Anthony Wayne football gear and making his way on to the field. He love the Generals and his teammates.

Michael is a senior at Anthony Wayne, but he has never played in a game during his high school career.

This story starts almost exactly four years ago in September of 2013. Michael was in 8th grade and started feeling sick.

"I had this pain in my chest," Dandan explained . "It felt like I was being pressed against by two cars."

After multiple trips to the doctor, on October 21st, 2013, he was officially diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He had not even started high school, and Michael had cancer.

"It's a big word," Dandan said. "It's caused a lot of deaths. At that time, I knew something was wrong, I just didn't know what it was."

He began undergoing chemotherapy. The treatments lasted three and a half years. He lost his hair, and he lost the thing he loved so much, football.

"Football means a lot to me. It means family," Dandan said. "The team is a second family to me. When I was told I couldn't play while I was getting treatment, it was probably the first time I cried, because it means so much to me."

Through all of the treatments, through all of the pain, his love for this game never wavered. Dandan, he still puts the equipment on when his body allows it. He warms up with the team and is on the sideline helping out every practice, and every game.

"It's painful for him to warm up," Anthony Wayne head coach Andy Brungard explained. "There are days when he just comes out and ices because it's painful to warm up. To have a guy like him on our team, he's just a wonderful person, and you can't replace him with anybody, he's just fantastic."

"It means the world to me," Dandan said about his relationship with the team. "It was my dream to go on and play college football, but being able to play here, and do what I can here, it just means so much."

Dandan completed treatments in February and continues to serve as a huge inspiration for the Anthony Wayne football team.

During the Generals game with Tiffin Columbian, he was able to serve as one of the team's captains and led them out for the coin toss.

His courage and strength is on display every single Friday night on the sidelines of an Anthony Wayne Football game.

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