ST. LOUIS — Drew Patchin has a smile that could light up a field. Unfortunately, he has had to deal with a diagnosis that could devastate you.
Patchin came to Chaffetz Arena for a Saint Louis University men's basketball team practice, the uniform didn't go on that smoothly but the day did.
He picked up his first steal and demanded to see three-pointers and of course, the Billikens obliged. Drew didn't just watch the SLU practice, he participated, first with a little stretching and later he made a bucket.
"It's just been a cool day," Drew said.
"This means a lot to him, he feels the support and he knows that people care about him and are here to support him and are excited to be part of what we call 'Drew's Crew'," Jennifer Patchin said.
The crew is growing by the day.
Last week, the Patchin family were guests of the Kansas basketball program and last Saturday, St. Louis CITY SC invited the family to their game.
It's all because a 9-and-a-half-year-old little boy was given an unfair diagnosis and it all came out of nowhere.
Drew was completely healthy at birth. He was healthy for the first 6 years of his life with lots of skills.
"Fun, silly, creative kid who loves to create art and build things," Jennifer said.
And then the news.
"Drew was initially diagnosed with brain cancer three and a half years ago. They were able to take it out in three brain surgeries that week over 29 hours of surgeries in one week," Jennifer said.
A few years later, the cancer came back. Another brain tumor and 12-hour surgery. Drew went to St. Jude in Memphis for radiation.
Then last month on a routine scan, doctors discovered the cancer was back.
"I keep asking 'I thought we did the treatments, I thought this was supposed to be over?' But cancer is like that. Sometimes, some are a little harder to beat than others," Doug Patchin said.
"Is it more sadness or anger?" Frank Cusumano asked.
"I would say more sadness for me," Doug said.
"There are so many emotions and sometimes it's so hard for me to reconcile because right now he doesn't have any symptoms and so I look at him and think 'how can there be a brain tumor in his brain right now,'" Jennifer said.
Coach Travis Ford and his players at SLU wanted to give Drew a special day and ensured he had plenty of swag to take home.
"He's a fighter," said SLU's Fred Tatch. "He's going through a lot of stuff that people that are older that just couldn't do it. So yeah know, I respect him a lot and gotta lot of love for him for what he's doing and all the happiness he is still showing through all of it."
Drew's family remains optimistic and is grateful for the support and everything Drew has been part of lately.
"I think they help him forget about everything that is happening. I know it's all these things that help me forget," Doug said.
"That's really the goal of a lot of people, they want to put a smile on his face and make things better for a moment in time for him," Jennifer said. "It's really done that for him, it's done that for our family. We are able to create some wonderful memories together that I know that will stick with all of us for our whole lives as long as that is for each of us."
Drew Patchin is much too young to have a diagnosis like this but too tough to ever give in.
"Can you beat this thing?" Cusumano asked Drew.
"Yes, because this is my third time so I know I can," Drew said.