Sebastian Quinn hasn’t had the easiest high school career.
A junior at Mendham (N.J.) High, Quinn was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma blood cancer in 2014. He went through chemotherapy and drove the cancer into remission. It came back. He spent months in the hospital.
He never stopped playing football.
That determination won over USA Football, Hospital for Special Surgery, and the New York Giants, who selected Quinn as the 2017 Heart of a Giant award winner. The teen was presented with the award by Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul at his school on Wednesday in front of his classmates and all seven of his siblings.
“With all the trials and tribulations he’s been through, he is not only an inspiration for his classmates and his team, he’s also an inspiration for me,” Pierre-Paul said during the award presentation. And he was right.
According to Quinn’s father, the teen is one of only five people on the entire East Coast who suffered the relapse he did after completing his treatment.
Of course, Quinn’s football persistence wasn’t intended to win any awards. It was just his way of remaining involved in the sport he loves with all of his friends.
“I still think it’s kind of a dream,” Quinn told New York CBS affiliate WCBS. “I don’t believe it. … You hear stories about people who quit and they always regret it.”
Quinn never did, and now he has a trophy to remind him — not to mention an unforgettable memory — for the rest of his life.