Why Attack Cancer With Jack Ponzio
Written by Maggie Maier
Years before Jack Ponzio joined Attack Cancer and pledged his season to families fighting cancer, he was impacted by this battle firsthand. When his brother, Tyler, was suddenly diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in December of 2011, Jack and his family persevered through this difficult time with the help of the local community. The Ponzios learned of the HEADstrong Foundation when Coach Joe Amplo, former head men’s lacrosse coach at Hofstra University, sent Tyler a pair of gloves embroidered with “Relentless 27.” Tyler returned to the field as a freshman at Limestone University after six months of chemotherapy and radiation at Stony Brook University Hospital. He donned the HEADstrong gloves in his first game back, scoring four goals that day.
Even though he was young at the time of Tyler’s diagnosis, Jack recognizes the impact that cancer has had on his and his family’s life. He strives to give back to the community on and off the field. His participation in Attack Cancer has allowed Jack to live out this goal, and he encourages other high school athletes to do the same. “There’s really no downside to joining the Attack Cancer campaign,” he explained. “It’s going to a great cause, a great family, and helping to ultimately beat cancer.”
As Jack begins his senior season at St. Anthony’s High School and prepares to play at the United States Naval Academy in the fall, his brother continues to inspire him. “I think something Tyler really taught me is to truly never give up on anything that I do,” Ponzio explained. “He was in the lowest of the low, and he still found a way to build up motivation and push through. If he can do that, the least I can do is never give up and persevere through anything in life.”