EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 6, 2013

Editorial: Lancers make day special for father and son

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Kudos to the coaches and players of the Lawrence High football team for making a day special for a father and his son.

Daymien Rios, 3, is the son of Julian Rios, a 2007 graduate of Lawrence High and former linebacker for the Lancers football team. On June 4, Julian and Daymien’s mother, Tasia Hinton, got terrible news. Daymien was diagnosed with pontine glioma, an inoperable tumor on the brain stem. The cancer is usually fatal.

“It was unreal,” Julian told reporter Yadira Betances of learning about his son’s cancer. “This is like a bad dream that I can’t seem to wake up from.”

When Daymien was born, Julian imagined he would one day play football for the Lancers, too.

The coaches and players made that happen last week. Rios asked head coach Mike Yameen if his son could be on the field before practice. The coach readily agreed.

“It doesn’t matter when he graduated,” Yameen told Betances. “He’s still one of us. Once a Lancer, always a Lancer and we wanted to provide him a moment with his son that he’ll always remember.

“I wondered, what can I do to make him feel better than spending a moment with his father,” Yameen said. “I have a 4 year old and it hurts you in the heart.”

Daymien got on the field with the big boys and ran and scored a touchdown. He tossed the ball to Christian Guzman, who was co-captain with Julian in their high school days and is now an assistant coach.

“Seeing him so happy makes me forget his sickness,” Rios said. “I wish we can stay here all day. It’s not often that I get to see him this happy and what father doesn’t want to see that from his son.”

Happy days are special for kids being treated for cancer. After his diagnosis, Daymien spent weeks at Tufts Medical Center in Boston undergoing radiation treatment. While in the hospital, he got a visit from Red Sox pitchers Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey and Cassadee Pope, the singer who won NBC’s “The Voice” this year. Now Daymien is receiving chemotherapy.

“It’s been tough. He’s gone through so much treatment expecting it to work, and it isn’t working. It’s just sad that he is not getting better,” Hinton said.

The family has been overwhelmed by the support of the community for Daymien.

On July 28, the Technical Association of Sports dedicated its 13th annual walk for cancer at Campagnone Common to Daymien. He was bestowed with a medal and members of the Knights of Columbus at St. Mary of the Assumption Church raised their swords as his family walked through it pushing Daymien on a stroller.

Upcoming events include a benefit softball game and a birthday benefit on Sept. 24. A fund has been set up for Daymien Rios at Sovereign Bank. The account number is: 2351118316.

The time that Daymien spends with his mother and father now is precious. Through their support, the Lancers helped make a special moment that the family will treasure forever.

Well done to all involved.