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It has been more than two years since the night of March 13, 2020, but the Francis family still remembers it like it was yesterday. That night, after not feeling himself for numerous days, Will went in for testing, which revealed his white blood cell count was dangerously high. Within hours, doctors confirmed a worst-case scenario: Will had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
For Will, one of the guiding principles on the difficult medical journey ahead was the unwavering belief that he would return to the ice. He recalls immediately asking when he could skate again after hearing the news of his diagnosis, and the disappointment he felt when learning it would take months.
After undergoing two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy to treat leukemia and ringing the bell at Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital in Minnesota; Anaheim Ducks prospect was ready to get back on the ice and attend development camp where he received a tribute from Anaheim head coach Dallas Eakins in front of his peers:
“For 848 days ... he had to handle hard better,” Eakins said in his speech to the team. "He had to be disciplined, he had to fight. So, when we think about having a hard day, Will Francis knows what a hard day is. When we talk about passion, not only did it almost take his passion away, it almost took his life. Will Francis, he’s the hardest in this room.”
Francis played in five games this past season for the Bulldogs and looks to have a breakout season this year with the outpouring of support from coaches, teammates, family and friends. #WillPower #SauceLife #LetsGoDucks #BulldogCountry
Proceeds will go to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society funds leading-edge research for every type of blood cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and other rare types of blood cancers. As the largest nonprofit funder of cutting-edge blood cancer research to advance cures, LLS has invested more than $1.5 billion in cancer research since we started in 1949, leading to breakthroughs in immunotherapy, genomics and personalized medicine that are improving and saving the lives of patients.
Over the last five years, LLS helped advance 75% of the almost 100 FDA-approved blood cancer treatment options.
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