(FOLEY, Ala.) - A community is coming together to support a Foley High School football player who's been diagnosed with leukemia. Chris Dillon is just days away from his 16th birthday, and was diagnosed with AML leukemia about two weeks ago.
It started as a normal week for Chris: school during the day, and football in the afternoon. But by Thursday he wasn't feeling well, and sent his coach a text message that he might have to miss Friday's game. Then he went to see his doctor.
"It really kind of happened rather quickly," said head football coach Todd Watson. "They sent him to USA Women's and Children's in Mobile, and the next morning he was diagnosed with AML leukemia."
Coach Watson soon got word that instead of playing in the game, Dillon would be heading to Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
"As soon as he got to Saint Jude they had everything lined up for him," Watson said, "and the next day he started his first treatment."
Dillon is expected to stay at Saint Jude for the next eight months. Meanwhile, friends and teammates in Foley pin orange ribbons on their clothing and sign mementos to send to Dillon and show support.
"He was part of the family," said teammate Michael Valdez. "You know, the football team, we're all a family."
"He was always there if anybody was down, to help us up, and just a great guy," said another teammate, Willie Dennis.
Dillon's teammates will play Fairhope High School in the UTV 44 game of the week this Friday. Fans are asked to wear orange to show their support.