Community, star athletes wear T-shirt to support teen with cancer

Posted at: 08/26/2013 8:15 AM
Updated at: 08/26/2013 8:17 AM
By: Heather Mills, KOB Eyewitness News 4

You can be a hero to a local teenager fighting cancer.

Zak Lannon's family, friends and supporters are wearing a T-shirt in support of him on Monday, August 26, as he's undergoes a 14-hour operation to remove several cancerous tumors. Star athletes from around the nation have been sporting the tee, all thanks to one man who had made it his mission to help Zak.

"We have two teenagers ourselves, and we hope that if something like this happened to one of our teens, somebody would step up and help," said Andy Hageman, owner of sporting goods store House of Football. 

KOB Eyewitness News 4 first introduced you to Zak in May. He's a West Mesa High School football player diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer. But, he's not fighting alone. He has nationwide support.

"They're just a good All-American family who need help." Hageman said.

House of Football is raising money for the Lannon Family, selling tee-shirts with Zak's phrase, "You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have."

"It started with Roger Goodell. When we sent a T-shirt to Roger Goodell, it was completely speculative. We never thought for one minute that the NFL commissioner would put on Zak Lannon's T-shirt. Not only did he put it on, he signed it and sent it back to us overnight," Hageman said.

Goodell isn't the only one. Other big names are sporting Zak's shirt. Vikings Quarterback Christian Ponder. Texans Quarterback Matt Schaub. U.S. Golf Champ Justin Rose.

"We've written to every NFL team twice," said Hageman. "Take 2 minutes out of your day and put on a shirt. It costs them nothing and it means everything to Zak."

House of Football is also collecting memorabilia for an auction to help Zak. The items are coming in, in droves.

"Larry Bird, Jerry Springer, Matt Kemp from the Dodgers," Hageman said, "We won't lie down, we knock on the door gently and ask for help. Then we bang on the door, then we knock the door down and demand help. If we could do more, we would."

You can pick up a Zak Lannon tee-shirt at House of Football or online.