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Cedar Park Timberwolves' New Teammate
Updated: Thursday, October 10 2013, 10:44 PM CDT
In 2012, Cedar Park celebrated its first state title in school history. This year, the Timberwolves brought back 16 of 22 starters, enough to earning them a number two ranking in the class 4A preseason poll. However, it's a teammate who was not around last year that is making a difference for Cedar Park in 2013.
"It's not about back to back, it's about pack to pack," said Cedar Park head football coach Joe Willis. "That says it all. He's a part of our pack right now."
Make no mistake about it. 10 year old Joshua Edmondson is a part of the Cedar Park team. He's at practice during the week, in the locker room before the game and on the sideline during the game. Wherever the T-Wolves are, Josh is there too. Even the official roster.
But unlike his teammates, Joshua will never take a snap. Not this season, not ever.
"I have a rare bone disease," Joshua disclosed. "My bones can break easily."
Five years ago, Josh was diagnosed with chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis. CRMO is an incredibly rare bone marrow disease. Only 300 Americans are affected. There's no cure.
"There are tumors and lesions inside his bones," explained Michelle Edmondson, Joshua's mother. "He's had eight tumors removed in the last three years. He has several in his back and he still has one in his leg."
"I've been waking up at [midnight] or in the morning, crying because my leg's been hurting," Joshua admitted.
The Edmondsons fly to Maryland every six to eight weeks for infusions that slow the tumors. Although CRMO is a one in a million disease, Josh is not fighting it alone.
With the help of Cheyanna's Champions-4-Children, an Austin-based organization serving kids with rare or undiagnosed diseases, Joshua was given the gift of football with his favorite team. But this situation is like most of Cedar Park's offensive formations: there's more than one "receiver" involved.
"They (teammates) get their inspiration from children like Joshua," explained Maite Mastel, a volunteer for Cheyanna's Champions-4-Children. "They think to themselves, 'well if Joshua can get up every single day and face what he faces, I can make it through this practice."
"He's going through something way harder than anything I've been through in my life," admitted Nicolas Gardiner, Cedar Park's senior nose guard. "He's definitely an inspiration. I wake up in the mornings and i might feel tired, but this guy wakes up everyday and he feels tired."
Even though his bones are so fragile that he can't even take part in P.E. much less play football, Joshua Edmondson has shown that he is strong enough to lift-up a team on it's quest for a second straight championship.
by Adam Winkler
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