Saturday's honorary captains visit football practice

Reese Baker, her brother Dylan and parents will join UC Davis on the field this Saturday as the team's honorary captains. All photos courtesy of Sue Cockrell, Davis Enterprise.
Oct. 26, 2017



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DAVIS, Calif. - For some individuals, walking into a stadium full of raucous fans, like eight-year-old Reese, 10-year-old Dylan and their mother, Lisa, will do before Saturday's Battle for the Golden Horseshoe between UC Davis and Cal Poly is a scary and intimidating situation. But compared to what the Bakers faced throughout the last two years, don't be surprised to see mile-wide smiles on everyone's faces when they join UC Davis captains Derek Baljeu, Brock Dale and Keleen Culberson for the coin toss.

Reese is two months away from receiving her final treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.



After receiving her initial diagnosis in October, 2015, Reese fought a fierce battle for the next two years until everyone received positive news from the phenomenal staff at UC Davis Children's Hospital. Now, she is eagerly awaiting that final visit before celebrating her courageous battle with friends and family.

"Reese is a rock star," said her mother, Lisa. "She has cried far less than me during this situation, I couldn't be any more proud of my daughter."

As Lisa would soon find out throughout the next two years, one in five children diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. will not survive (St. Baldrick's Foundation). This is the meaning behind the hashtag #MoreThanFour, which is used on social media by family members within this community, and supporters of childhood cancer research.

"I was stunned to hear how much of an inspiration Reese thinks we are. The reality is the exact opposite: to battle Leukemia with courage and a positive attitude, Reese is the true inspiration. Her strength inspires all of us," said Baljeu.

"Organizations like UC Davis Children's Hospital are the ones that save our children's lives. There is a cancer community, and without them, all of us would be lost," said Lisa.