MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - The West Texas Pride football team is hosting Breast Cancer Awareness Night for their last home game of the season. For one player on the team, bringing awareness to this cause reaches far beyond the field.
Defensive tackle Marco Vergara finds a place of comfort on the football field and also a place to carry his emotions.
"Football's always been my outlet and it's gotten my aggression through and my frustrations, but also my sadness. You play with so much emotion it all funnels out," said Vergara.
On January 14, 2015, Marco's mom Sylvia Cena was diagnosed with stage IIIC breast cancer.
"It was heart stopping. Everything I was thinking about through school through everything else just stopped. I was just worried about my mom. I was worried losing a big piece I was made of," said Vergara.
"Eventually it kind of sinks in and then okay let's get my game face on let's do it let's go," said Cena.
Sylvia was determined and ready to tackle cancer. She went through nine surgeries and nine rounds of chemotherapy.
"It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life," said Cena.
After battling cancer for nine months, Sylvia, Marco, and the rest of their family finally got the call saying she was cancer free.
"My whole treatment team was there and they bring you a cake and they bring you flowers. I did it!" said Cena.
"It was a big stress reliever. I was finally able to take a deep breath. It felt like an elephant was on your back the entire time. To see her smile through the entire thing, but that last smile I'll never forget. It was finally like I was able to breath," said Vergara.
The Pride will honor breast cancer survivors May 19th during their game at halftime. Kick off is scheduled for 7 pm at Grande Stadium.