HS Baseball Cancer Battler Meets Mario & Big Ben

John Challis’ heart-wrenching but inspiring story is getting the national recognition it deserves. (Yes, even the Worldwide Leader is now on it.)

John Challis Mario Lemieux

As the cancer-stricken high school baseball player keeps fighting against his terminal disease, he got to enjoy one more special evening - by meeting a couple of Pittsburgh’s biggest sports stars (with video after the jump).

As the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE reports, John and his family were invited to attend Sunday’s Game 2 between the Penguins & Flyers at Mellon Arena. Not only did John score some primo seats for playoff hockey, he also had the special privilege of meeting some Steel City sports stars such as Mario Lemieux and Ben Roethlisberger.

VERSUS slaps over video of the monumental meeting:

Actually, switch that - it should be Mario & Ben who had the special privilege of meeting John. The high schooler - who was just named prom king two days earlier - held court with Mario, Ben, Steelers owner Dan Rooney and Braves hurler John Smoltz during his visit to the Pens’ owner’s luxury box.

Challis even managed to get in a quick zinger at the local baseball club:

As John Challis was standing between Mr. Lemieux and Mr. Rooney, he looked at them and said, “Wow. I never thought I’d be talking with two owners of sports teams in the city.”

“There’s only one missing,” Mr. Lemieux said, referring to the Pirates.

John quickly replied, “Yeah, but at least the two winners are here.”

BA-ZING! Even an 18-year-old dying from cancer sees no hope for the Pirates. But, hey, what can the Buccos do?

Maybe inviting John out to PNC Park for a game & possible first pitch might be a start. If the Dodgers can bounce Pamela Anderson out onto the mound, surely the Pirates can accommodate a cancer-stricken ballplayer one more memorable moment in his shortened life.

But we guess there’s no need for us to be nit-picky with the Pirates. We don’t want to disappoint John, who gave this special message while being interviewed by Versus’ Chris Simpson:

“Everybody going through any hard situation, never give up and just focus on the positive things in this world. There’s so much negative that gets talked about all the time, but there’s also so much positive that doesn’t get talked about. I think it needs to get picked up in the media more, and people need to focus on positive things more than the negative things.”

John’s story is definitely one positive everyone can learn from.

And to prove he practices what he preaches, John finished his chat with Chris with one more positive thought - by yelling “Let’s go Pens!

And it sounds like they listened.

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