A local college baseball team Thursday signed its youngest recruit ever.
University of Wisconsin-Parkside introduced 12-year-old cancer survivor Leo Montemurro as a member of the team. They presented him with the No. 7 jersey.
"Just to see his face light up when he got the jersey and the hat that was a special moment," said head baseball coach Daniel Esposito.
"Baseball is my son's life. Baseball is what makes Leo happy," said Jen Montemurro, Leo's mom.
But for years, happiness was hard to come by. When he was just 3 years old, doctors discovered that he had cancer.
"He had pretty much a racquetball-sized tumor in the base of his head," said Lenny Montemurro, Leo’s dad.
After two brain surgeries, and almost three dozen rounds of radiation, Leo defied the odds and beat cancer.
"Because every day is a blessing and in his eyes, life is a treat," Lenny Montemurro said. "Perspective is your glass is half-full or half-empty, and his is always half-full."
Leo and his family don’t live too far from UW-Parkside. The team is hoping that he will come to practices and even throw out the first pitch at one of their upcoming games.
"I'm excited to be part of the team and throw pitches to help them practice to get better and better," Leo said. "When the season is over, I get like bored because I really like baseball."
And after his time with the Rangers, Leo has even bigger dreams.
"If you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, it’s a baseball player, and why not?" Lenny Montemurro said.
He's been cancer-free for about eight years now and doctors say his long-term prognosis looks good.
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