• 8-year-old battling cancer practices with Sounders for Make A Wish

    By: John Knicely

    Updated:

    An 8-year-old Seattle boy battling cancer had his wish come true Wednesday as he got to practice alongside his heroes with the Seattle Sounders. Bheem Goyal was laser focused as he blocked shots during practice right next to his favorite player, goalie Stefan Frei.

    “He is constantly reenacting the saves so it’s a big deal to be next to him,” Jay Goyal told KIRO 7 as he watched his son at the Sounders practice facility in Tukwila.

    Bheem was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August and has been in the fight of his life, though you’d never know it watching him play goalie Wednesday.

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    “Seeing him be able to warm up, run around, and kick the ball,” Tonia Goyal said as she watched her son.  “Do the physical things that he couldn’t do a couple months ago because of the treatment is amazing.”

    The Make A Wish Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital helped make this happen for Bheem and his family.  Tt was clear the Sounders players and coaches were all about it.

    “It’s inspirational for him and even for us to see how much the players care about their fans and someone like Bheem at such a young age,” Jay said.

    Bheem is in the middle of a 3 ½-year treatment plan, takes a chemo pill every night, and goes in for treatment every few weeks. Any family with a child in a fight with a serious disease can reach out to the Make A Wish Foundation. 

    “Part of me wants to protect him and is fearful of letting him get out there and do these things,” Tonia said as she considered advice for other families in a similar fight. “Just keep the hope, and trust the treatment plan the best you can, and don’t be afraid to let your kids get out there and try to enjoy the things they want to do.”

    This wasn’t the only big day for Bheem. He will be on the gameday roster for the Seattle Sounders Wednesday, July 17 when they host a German club for an international friendly at CenturyLink Field.

    “We’re so thankful to the team and to Make A Wish for the opportunity,” Jay said. “And I know it’s something our family will remember and Bheem will remember for the rest of our lives.”

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