CHICO, Calif. --
No Viking fights alone. That's the high school's rallying cry as own of their own battles cancer.
Tate Hampton played sports like football, lacrosse, and swim his entire life. But, on November 8th a shocking discovery sidelined him.
“I just noticed this lump on the left side and I had my stepdad look at it and then I brought it up to my mom and she took me immediately to the ER," said Hampton.
A softball sized tumor was attached to his stomach and appendix.
“I didn’t really think about it too much," said Hampton. "I took it with a grain of salt.”
At just 16-years-old, Hampton was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as soft tissue sarcoma.
“I was devastated, but his strength just helped me get through it and everyone surrounding him was just so supportive," said Hampton's friend Jaron Letlow.
“It’s been a long road. It’s been over a year now of him battling this fight. They’ve been to North Carolina, they’ve been going down to UC Davis Medical Group. It’s been a trying time for them," said Pleasant Valley football coack Mark Cooley.
Since being diagnosed, Hampton has undergone two surgeries. Doctors removed the cancer, half of his stomach and pancreas as well as his appendix.
As of now, Hampton spends five days a week and three hours a day doing chemotherapy.
This Friday, the football team invited him to be its honorary captain for homecoming.
“It felt... like just how I remembered it," said Hampton. "It was really fun. I got to connect with a lot more people and be right there on the field.”
The Vikings' annual gala usually raised money for the football and cheer teams, but this year they're raising money for Tate, too.
“Tate really deserves the gala," said Letlow. "The money raised for him will be great. His family just needs help with expenses, not just the medical bills, but the travel and food. It just wears down.
“I feel very blessed that I made such an impact on this community, said Hampton. Them allowing me to be down on the field, it’s just heartwarming to see all the effort put out there for me and my family.”
Tate is now back at school and enrolled in three periods at Pleasant Valley High. He says he still has seven more months of chemotherapy.
If you would like to attend this year's gala in support of Tate and the football and cheer teams, visit this link.
The 2019 PV Football & Cheer Gala featuring #novikingfightsalone will be held at the Elks Lodge on September 21st.
For further information, you can also contact Event Chairman NicoleMcHenry at (530)518-2774 or firstname.lastname@example.org.