PASCO COUNTY — Baseball season is underway and at Saint Leo University they aren’t just playing for a championship, they are playing for one of their own.
When you’re a baseball catcher bumps and bruises are just part of the position. However, for Ray Camacho, it turned out to be much more serious.
“A bump on my neck, didn’t really think much of it, but then we noticed it kept getting bigger so my parents wanted me to go to the doctor,” said Camacho.
He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
“Shocker to all of us, the day before that I played a seven-inning game out here, I’ve been going to the weight room six in the morning, doing everything normal, felt pretty healthy,” said Camacho.
His baseball season was over before it even began.
“It was a real heart breaker to me and my family, we worked so hard to get here and then that happened,” said Camacho.
“He’s not able to play and I know that hurts him but being able to go out here and being able to dedicate every game to him is something we are taking pride in,” said center fielder Amir Wright.
These players say Camacho is more than a teammate, he’s part of their family, and they showed that support on social media through a GoFundMe account.
“Everybody put it on their Instagram accounts, their Facebook pages, some put it on their Snapchat to raise awareness,” said pitcher Jeremy Peel.
In just a few days the community raised more than $20,000 for medical expenses. It’s a huge help, considering Camacho’s father lost his job during the pandemic.
“Every time we looked at it, me and my family, we just broke down in tears, we never expected anything like that, it was really amazing and we were beyond thankful,” said Camacho.
“We all rallied behind him and we support him 100% and he’s a tough kid and he’s going to get past this,” said pitcher Dariel Fregio.
Camacho understands that same heart he showed on the field throwing out runners, will now be needed off the field fighting cancer.
“I’m just working to get back here with my boys and my brothers and do everything I can to get back on this field,” said Camacho.
For more information on how to help Ray Camacho click here.