CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Providence High lacrosse player Noah Hays is fighting a rare form of cancer.
Saturday afternoon the Charlotte Hounds did their part to take Hays’ mind off another round of treatment by signing him to a one day contract.
He begins treatment for his second battle with cancer on Monday, but on this day he’s a Charlotte Hound.
“It’s awesome,” Hays said. “All of the guys are so nice. They’re so welcoming, and it’s just like a family atmosphere.”
The contract and his jersey were just the beginning. Hays hung out with the team in the locker room, took the field for warm-ups, and watched the game from the bench. The biggest surprise came in his conversations with some of the players.
“Just saying that I’m like an inspiration for them,” Hays said. “It’s crazy because they’re professional athletes, and I’m just me. Just a regular kid being an inspiration for them.”
From the outside, it’s easy to see. Hays went through 52 weeks of chemo after his initial diagnosis. This past August he learned it was in remission only to find out in March that it had returned.
“Resiliency is the word that always pops up,” Hounds goalie Charlie Cipriano said. “I think he’s just a sign of that. This is his second time going through it. We can learn off of that as a team.”
Toughness too. Hays played the final two games of his career for Providence after he had learned his cancer was back. Mom was worried, but her son was determined.
“He was going to leave in a blaze of glory,” Gina Cugliari. “He was going to leave on a good note, and he did. It was amazing to watch him.”