Playing football at Edison High School meant a lot to senior Luke Gane, but after missing football season and half of his junior year, being back on the field was more meaningful than ever.
The 18-year-old was diagnosed with a rare disease, aplastic anemia, and spent several months in the hospital going through chemotherapy and eventually a bone-marrow transplant.
Going from a healthy high school student to one fighting his own immune system didn't make him scared or angry — he trusted in God's plan. The real "heartache" was not being on the field with his brothers on the football team.
Putting back on the uniform and returning to the football stadium with the smell of the field and the lights shining down on him was a big moment.
"To miss those 10 games and then to come back is truly indescribable," he said.
Despite missing several months of school, Gane returned as a varsity starter and kept up the grades and athleticism needed to earn himself a spot at UCLA and a walk-on spot on the football team.
The experience has made Gane want to help others through a career in the medical field.
— Britney Barnes