Louisa County football player fighting cancer - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Louisa County football player fighting cancer

By Yvette Yeon - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - Louisa County high school's football team may be in a playoff fight tonight -- they're 10-0 and number one in their region.

But one of their players will be in a fight far bigger than that. He's fighting cancer, and it's taken him off the field right in the middle of training camp this season.

It's been really hard for Josh Campi to forget about football, but it's been harder for his friends at school to forget about him.

Senior year was supposed to be a blast. Second year as a lion, Campi was training hard, getting good grades and even told me, working on getting a girlfriend.

Teammate Nate Whitmer remembers those grueling practices after school.

"He was always there for the team he was always first in line and always first to step up in practice," Whitmer said.

During practice one day, Josh got a nose bleed that wouldn't stop. He collapsed and was rush to the hospital, doctors said he had bleeding internally for a while and diagnosed him with leukemia.

"That's just like heart breaking I was very upset for a very long time I guess I had a bigger fight I had to deal with," Campi said.

Though sick and weak, Josh still loved talking about football.

"I just love being around it, I love hitting people, I love getting hit, I mean, it don't bother me. I mean anything the coach was gonna tell me to do, I was gonna do it," Campi said.

Louisa coach Mark Fischer rode in the ambulance with Josh the day he collapsed during practice.

"It was the most surreal moment of my life," Fischer said.

The community joined in on the effort to raise money for Josh's medical bills. Bracelets, dozens of collection jars around Louisa and other fundraising efforts raised about $30,000 so far.

The players also wear Josh's number, 63 on their helmets.

"Everything we've done this year -- we've said it from day one -- to raise up Josh and do whatever we could to keep his spirits and kind of motivate the team at the same time," Fischer said.

"We fight everyday just to prove there's no point of being sad for ourselves because he wouldn't be," said senior Rick Day.

At the game in spirit, Josh wishes his buddies good luck from the hospital bed.

"Best of luck, go knock some heads you know, that's what we do. That's what I want them to do," Campi said.

And the team hopes to win the game tonight so they can continue the season and play for Josh.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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