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University signs 10-year-old cancer survivor to play basketball

Posted at 2:28 PM, Jan 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-21 14:29:49-05

NORTHFIELD, Vt. (WFFF) -- A 10-year-old cancer survivor in Vermont is living his dream thanks to Norwich University.

Young fan Jimmy Giroux signed a national letter of intent with the Cadet men's basketball team Monday.

"We had Jimmy down several times before. The kids took to him and he took to the kids,” Norwich University Head Basketball Coach Paul Booth said.

Booth said he got the idea from Sammi Chickering, the school’s assistant director of sports information. She told him about Team Impact, which pairs kids who have health issues with intercollegiate teams.

When Jimmy was just eight months old, he was diagnosed with leukemia. After years of treatments and surgeries, including two bone marrow transplants, he is now leukemia free.

However, the severe treatments permanently affected Jimmy's growth. But that, along with positive energy, has not stopped him from living life to the fullest.

"I’ve never met a kid with more heart in my entire life. I've never met a more competitive person, in anything in my entire life," Norwich Senior Tom McDonald said.

Rick Giroux , Jimmy's father, said his son has been the glue that held his family together."

"It's been an emotional rollercoaster. We've had our ups, we've had our downs. More downs than ups but lately we've had more ups,” Giroux said. “We've had a lot of positive things happen to us."

During the ceremony, Booth said Jimmy was the school’s first team member from the class of 2014.

“He's a tremendous competitor; he's a great teammate, a good student. He's going to be great in, on, and off the court. And without further ado you have to sign your national letter of intent," Booth said.

And with that, Jimmy grabbed a pen and signed the letter and then shook hands his coaches and teammates.

"It's an honor to do this, because most people wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing," Jimmy said.

After signing, he went down to the team’s locker room to check out his very own locker and get changed. Then it was time for some pregame planning and the big game against Mount Ida.