Malachi Rios is a junior at Reedley High School. He was a linebacker on the football team, but now the challenge he faces is off the field. “It kind of shocks you to see someone so young, in shape, such a good person and such a student,” said Reedley High head football coach Tony Gates. . . “It shocked me a bit.”
Last week, Malachi was diagnosed with stage 4 testicular cancer that had metastasized. He was suffering from lower back pain, then doctors found a lump. A cancerous tumor. spread all over his body. As he faces this battle with his family, his football family is coming together to offer support.
“We break the huddle at the end of every practice with the ‘family.’ And I say it’s easy to tell when things are going well,” Gates said. “Now we are all tested. The family has had good times and bad times.” Coach Gates said Malachi is a young man who works hard for everything he wants.
“He got to the starting position the good old fashioned way with hard work, patience, and perseverance.” He said. He now focuses that perseverance and patience as a patient. In the coming weeks, Malachi will begin chemotherapy. His family is preparing for an arduous journey.
“I tell the team before every game, ‘Don’t back down,’ and I told him not to back down from this. Beat this thing every day,” Gates said. His football family and the Reedley community are already creating a GoFundMe page and planning fundraisers to help with medical expenses.
Now, they are all leaning on their faith and football. “Sports and especially football have trained him to be strong, persistent, and have a good attitude at the moment. “That was the advice we gave him the first night we got the news.