Red Sox Superfan Uses Big Papi As Inspiration To Beat Cancer

Watch this baseball fan hit cancer out of the park.

When Geoff Blanck was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in early 2016, he knew he needed a distraction to help him get through the difficult diagnosis. So the father of two and Red Sox fan turned to his love of baseball as inspiration.

After finding out his tumor was, in fact, the size of a baseball, Blanck did what any loyal Red Sox fan would do: He nicknamed the tumor “Yankee.” The chemo chair he sat in to beat “Yankee” got its own name too—”Big Papi,” the nickname of David Ortiz, a three-time world series champion with Blanck’s favorite team.

“He felt so lousy. I think for them just sitting on the couch, having that connection and watching the game together was really important,” said Geoff’s wife, Shalagh, of the time Geoff spent with his daughters. “I mean, he [Ortiz] had, if not the greatest season of his career, one of them. I would say we didn’t ask Big Papi for his help, but he came through big time.”

After hearing the story, Mastercard and Stand Up To Cancer invited Geoff and his family to their annual dine out campaign. Little did they know, however, that a surprise was waiting.

“I see the Big Papi bear hugs he gives to players and other people and I’ve always said I want to give Big Papi a big hug,” Geoff said while filming a video for the campaign. Right on time, Big Papi himself surprised the family and, of course, gave Geoff his own Big Papi bear hug. Ortiz also gifted Geoff a new Big Papi chair—this one autographed and sure to be more comfortable than the first.

The good news doesn’t end there for the Blanck family. Thanks to the inspiration of Big Papi, Geoff hit cancer out of the park and has now been cancer-free for more than a year.