Terps support 6-year-old teammate with cancer

Posted at 10:32 AM, May 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-31 10:38:59-04

The Maryland men's lacrosse team adopted Fionn as an honorary team member. Just before celebrating his sixth birthday, Fionn had to shave his head for treatment, so his Terps teammates stepped up to support him. 

"Fionn's a part of our team, he's one of our teammates. And if one of our teammates is going through something, any way we can support them is what we'll do," said senior defender Matt Dunn.

And so, the team got together and everyone, including head coach John Tillman shaved their heads for Fionn. 

Fionn joined the Terps in October 2015. He was connected through Team IMPACT, an organization that assigns children battling life-threatening and chronic illness to sports programs. 

Tillman said that it's moments like this, not the plays on the field, that make him truly proud of his team.

"This is definitely one of the top moments I've had as a coach here," he said. "Coaching here and winning games, obviously that's part of it, but last week when the guys came out of the locker room before we departed for Providence and I saw about 30 guys that had already shaved their heads - and I know how much their hair means to them - it was hard for me, emotionally, not to get choked up a little bit and realize I've got a really special group."

As a part of one of the top college lacrosse programs in the country, the sport can overtake your life. Dunn said it's important to remember the people around you and how you can help them.

"We all love the sport of lacrosse, but at the end of the day it's more than just playing lacrosse on the field, it's about the people and how you can impact others," he said. "Having Fionn as a part of our team, I think he's really enjoying it, but all of the guys on the team are enjoying it too. It's a great experience both ways."

Fionn celebrated his sixth birthday Sunday. He saw his teammates compete for a national championship and when the final whistle blew, the scoreboard reflecting a 14-13 North Carolina OT win, Fionn ran to console his teammates giving them hugs and high-fives.