Unlikely Teammate Helps Golden Eagles Fly
Teenager Lucas Lowe has regularly roamed Brockport Football’s sideline since the 2017 Courage Bowl — inspiring those around him.
Who is the teenager on the sidelines at almost every College at Brockport football game? That’s Lucas Lowe.
Why is he there? He’s on the team.
How is a 16-year-old from Akron, NY, on the team?
It all started with the Courage Bowl, an annual fundraiser to benefit Camp Good Days and Special Times (a non-profit that provides services to children impacted by cancer) that Brockport has competed in since 2014. Camp Good Days identifies campers to serve as honorary coaches and cheerleaders for the game.
Lowe, who was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was seven years old, became an honorary captain for the College in 2017.
The first time Lowe was invited to a Courage Bowl as an honoree coach, he was too sick to participate. He was invited back to be a coach for Brockport in 2017 and has been a regular presence around the program ever since.
The College’s football coach, Jason Mangone, invites all honoree coaches to stand on the sidelines all season long every year, but none other than Lowe has taken him up on it.
“Anybody can be generous to someone for one day. We want to be open to all our kids for the history of our program,” Mangone said. “I’m very proud that he wants to be part of it.”
The team has come to expect seeing him at games.
The Saturday after this year's Courage Bowl, Lowe was on the sidelines again, this time at Eunice Kennedy Shriver Stadium, where Brockport took on Hartwick College.
“It’s just grown into this whole thing,” said longtime Camp Good Days volunteer Pete Sidari '03, Lowe’s chaperone and buddy.
Sidari loves watching Brockport football but says, “the best part of all of this is watching [Lowe] get better, and he seems to be doing well,” Sidari said. “I’m lucky to be his chaperone.”
Lowe has had cancer twice. He has fought infections and underwent multiple experimental treatments. After his bone marrow transplant in 2016, Lowe ended up with graft-versus-host disease, a medical condition resulting from transplant complications. Because he struggled to eat, walk, and stay awake, he couldn’t attend school that year.
“This last year was a rough year. So, they’ve seen him through his journey which is really, really cool,” said Lowe’s mom, Maureen Warren. Lowe and his parents spent part of the season watching the games from a hospital room. But every time they could make it to the sidelines, they would be there.
“Even when he needed the walker, he was on the sidelines,” said Warren.
Lowe says no matter how tired he is, he refuses to let the team down — because they don’t let him down.
“It feels like what they’re doing is really genuine,” Sidari said. “The team isn’t patronizing him, they’re including him.”
While Warren said Lowe won’t be able to play football, Brockport considers him part of the team. “It means a lot to me that he has something that he belongs to,” Warren added.
When Lowe is with his team, they don’t talk about cancer.
“I don’t ask him about his health; I don’t talk to him about how he’s feeling,” Mangone said. “His smile normally tells me that no matter what he’s going through, he’s happy to be here.”
“It gets my mind off it. It makes me feel like they understand me,” Lowe said. “It lets me know that I can put stuff behind me now. I don’t have to worry about it.”
While the team means a lot to Lowe and his loved ones, Lowe means a lot to the team. He’s a source of their inspiration.
Once when a Brockport defensive player made a major interception, he ran straight to Lowe to celebrate. “He said, ‘that was for you,’” Sidari recalled.
The team gave Lowe a #55 jersey, signed by each of them, as well as an Empire 8 Conference Championship ring.
“We’re so pumped when we see Lucas at our games with the ring on his finger,” Mangone said. “Lucas epitomizes what courage means and motivates us to be better people. Lucas is the man.”