Wide Receiver Has Formed Significant Bond With 20-Year-Old Cancer Patient
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s amazing catch has left an indelible mark on the sports world.
But before he even made the grab that stunned fans everywhere, he left a long-lasting impact on a very special Big Blue supporter, CBS2’s Otis Livingston reported Tuesday.
By now, most everyone has seen the catch, but you may not have noticed the green bracelets Beckham was wearing on that famous right hand.
One young man, however, noticed right away. His name is James “Zippy” Cimino and he’s battling cancer for the second time, but an incredible grab by his favorite player is helping him through the fight, Livingston reported.
“It’s a part of history forever, and to know that my bracelets were on his wrists, and on that wrist especially, and to know that I’ll be on that picture is neat for me,” Cimino said.
The bracelet says “Zippy Strong,” which raises money for the ValerieFund to help children who suffer from cancer.
So when did Cimino give Beckham the bracelet? The Giants rookie visited Cimino on Nov. 13 at Goryeb Children’s Hospital at Morristown Medical Center — a surprise to Cimino that was arranged by his college friend who happened to be a high school buddy of Bechkam’s back in New Orleans.
“So this picture is the initial moment I met him. My face kind of says it all,” Cimino said. “One of the pictures that says 1,000 words. My mouth was wide open, I was stunned and speechless.”
“No one realizes the impact of cancer, not only to the patient but to the family, and when Odell came to the hospital it was like Zippy was 3 or 4 years old and had gotten this special Christmas presentthat he had wanted from Santa,” said Cimino’s mother, Judi Cimino.
But this wasn’t a one-and-done encounter. The 20-year-old Cimino and 22-year-old Beckham quickly formed a close bond, communicating constantly, Livingston reported.
“The impact he’s had on me is so strong. Fighting through what he is going through, and still every day has the strength to get up and keep fighting,” Beckham said. “That’s enough motivation for me.”
“He texted me a picture, his picture zoomed in — you see the bracelets,” Cimino said. “We’ve had a couple very, very nice moments.”
Zippy Strong has a motto familiar to Giants fans like Cimino. It’s the same motto that the Giants rallied around during their 2011 run to the Super Bowl: “All In.”
“Something I always have to look at my wrist every day. Because when you’re all in, with this kind of disease, you have to be. You have to be very disciplined, you have to be very dedicated to your treatment,” Cimino said. “Cancer is a relentless disease and it’s a day by day battle. When you have all those battles, it’s about winning the war. And that war in my case is being cured of cancer.”
Cimino resumes chemotherapy next week. He beat Hodgkins disease two years ago, and with the spirit that he shows, it looks like he will defeat non-Hodgkins Lymphoma this time around, Livingston reported.