BETHEL PARK, Pa. (KDKA) – Even at a young age, it was apparent Anthony Chiccitt’s life would revolve around athletics.
“We had a Little Tyke’s basketball hoop in the backyard. He grabbed a basketball and started shooting hoops,” his father recalls.
“‘Dad, let’s go catch a baseball. Dad, let’s go throw a football. Dad, let’s go hit golf balls.’ That’s all he did.”
Anthony didn’t just play sports growing up, he excelled. That success carried over in high school where he became a starting quarterback at Bethel Park as a sophomore.
But one day, after basketball practice his junior year, he noticed a lump on his shoulder.
They went to MedExpress in Mount Lebanon. Doctors realized something was wrong, and then sent him directly to Children’s Hospital for a biopsy.
A few days later, they received word.
“And we got the call,” his mother said.
On that call, the Chiccitts found out their son had stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Matt and Kelly, understandably shaken. But Anthony? He put them at ease.
“Once they finally told me, I didn’t cry or anything,” Anthony says.
“Like my parents told me and sat me down right there on the couch. They were breaking down in tears and everything and I was just kind of normal. I just told them I’d be fine, and that everything would be okay.”
Anthony immediately started chemotherapy which caused extreme weight loss and nausea. More drastically, it changed his appearance.
“The first time I really realized it, I was actually taking the SAT,” he said.
“I was wearing a hat and I was taking my test and I just looked to my left and on the ground and there was just hair all over the desk, all over the ground. I just tried to kick it away so no one would notice or anything.”
Through it all, he continued to play.
He started nearly every baseball game this spring, despite chemotherapy that ravaged his body.
He underwent surgery to completely remove the mass in his upper body this summer.
And after that surgery, the Chiccitts got another call. This one, declaring Anthony cancer-free.
“It just took a big relief off my back, not having to worry about it definitely keeps me clear-minded now. I haven’t really thought about it since then,” he says.
Anthony has resumed his role as starting quarterback at Bethel Park. He’s lead the Black Hawks into first place in the conference.
While his parents are happy to see him competing at full strength, they’re even more happy knowing their son can handle anything life will throw his way.
“You know that there will never be anything he can’t handle. And as a parent, it’s wonderful to know, because one day he won’t be here and you know that he’ll be able to take care of himself and handle everything that came to him,” his mother says.