Cedar City youth baseball players show support for long-distance teammate battling tumor

Truman Sermon (fourth from left) of Idaho Falls is flanked by Cedar City Bombers players wearing their "Strike Out Cancer" shirts, L-R: Raider Blomquist, Gavin Mackart, Davis Carter and Colton Johnson, St. George, Utah, March 23, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Jordan Sermon, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — The Cedar City Bombers youth baseball team for boys aged 10 and under has a special spot on its roster for a player that lives more than 450 miles away.

Truman Sermon, 10, lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho, but has been a regularly contributing member of the Bombers roster over the past year or so, playing with the team in a number of tournaments.

Truman’s father Jordan Sermon said his son, an admitted “baseball fanatic,” loves playing with the Bombers whenever he can.

“He has become good friends with these boys,” Jordan Sermon said. “They hit it off as if they had known each other for years, and the families and coaches of the Bombers have treated Truman as one of their own from the first day he played with them.”

Truman Sermon and his father Jordan Sermon, St. George, Utah, March 23, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Jordan Sermon, St. George News / Cedar City News

Bombers coach Bruce Johnson described Truman as a “graceful competitor.” who can play just about any position in the field, including shortstop, pitcher, catcher and outfield.

“He’s a gifted kid,” Johnson said. “This is a competitive level and we have a solid team. And so for him to play any of those positions says a lot.”

At a recent weekend tournament in Kanab in early May, Truman and his teammates went 5-0 and took home the championship. The Bombers defeated the Southern Nevada Bruins 11-3 in the finals, with Truman getting three hits and two RBIs in the deciding game.

“He’s really good, and a real fun kid to be around, because he’s just so loving to everybody. He fit right in with our team immediately,” Johnson said. “We’ve probably played about four tournaments with him, and they’ll travel all the way from Idaho Falls to play with us.”

The Bombers have been supportive of their teammate off the field as well, as Truman has been battling a cancer-like growth in his hand for the past few months.

“This winter, Truman came to me and showed me a lump in his left hand that he said was starting to hurt,” Jordan Sermon explained.

Truman Sermon and the rest of the Cedar City Bombers players and coaches show off their championship rings after winning a weekend tournament in Kanab, Utah on May 4, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Jordan Sermon, St. George News / Cedar City News

“This brought on a few weeks of local medical visits, and then we were referred to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City because it was suspected he had a cancerous sarcoma,” Jordan Sermon added. “After a biopsy, we were relieved to find out the mass is what is called a desmoid tumor. It is a fibrous cancer growth that will not spread to other parts of his body but is still serious because these tumors overtake the soft tissue and cause pain, loss of function and are managed for an individual’s whole life.”

“They are treated very similar to a malignant cancer because of how they behave,” Jordan Sermon added, noting that the oncologists at Primary Children’s have initiated treatments to help stop the progression of the tumor.

He has started some medication to help with the pain and to hopefully stabilize the tumor.”

Jordan Sermon said about the time they were going through the difficult process of learning about the medical issues they were dealing with, they were contacted by Bombers coach Johnson, who was asking about upcoming tournaments.

“I let him know what Truman had been going through. I also let him know that Truman’s team from Idaho Falls, the 10U Hawks, were scheduled to play in a SU Baseball tournament in St. George in March that the Bombers were also scheduled to play.”

“Truman was excited that we would get to see his friends and teammates from the Bombers,” Jordan Sermon recalled.

Cedar City Bombers 10U baseball players show off their “Strike Out Cancer” shirts they wore in support of their friend and sometimes teammate Truman Sermon of Idaho Falls, St. George, Utah, March 23, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Jordan Sermon, St. George News / Cedar City News

Unbenownst to Truman, the Bombers had a surprise in store for him when he came down to play in that weekend tournament in St. George. Spearheaded by the efforts of Christy Blomquist, the mother of one of the Bomber players, along with other team parents, the team made preparations to ensure that the event would be a special experience.

As fate would have it, the Hawks and Bombers ended up meeting each other in the tournament’s championship game on the night of March 23.

“What happened next is nothing short of a miracle and a testament to how genuinely great the Bombers Baseball 10U group of players, parents and coaches really are,” Jordan Sermon recalled. “The entire Bombers team and coaching staff came to the championship game in T-shirts that said ‘Strike Out Cancer’ on the front and ‘Team Truman’ and the boys individual numbers on the back.”

The game was close the whole way, with the Hawks eventually prevailing 11-10, but the score hardly mattered to the players on the field, Jordan Sermon said.

“The sportsmanship was unlike any other game I have witnessed. Opposing players gave pats on the back to one another and fans cheered for both teams. It was really the way youth sports should always be.”

After the game, the Bombers gave Truman a shirt that they had all signed, which is now one of his most prized possessions, his dad said, adding that they also gave him a card with a “generous” monetary gift inside.

Truman Sermon is surrounded by the toys and games he delivered to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City Utah on April 23, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Jordan Sermon, St. George News / Cedar City News

“The night had a special magic that was felt, and a 10-year-old boy was surrounded by love and support,” Jordan Sermon said. “He had been very discouraged through the prior weeks and still faces some challenging days ahead. But that night will be remembered as one where sports, teammates and camaraderie really do mold young lives for the better.”

“As a parent I was speechless,” Jordan Sermon added. “The Bombers filled our family’s lives with happiness and joy during a time of difficulty and trial.”

Rather than spend the donated funds on himself, Truman decided he wanted to use the money the Bombers had given him to buy toys and activities for the kids that receive chemotherapy at Primary Children’s Hospital.

“When we visited there for our original consultation, we had asked if there was anything we could do to give back,” Jordan Sermon explained, noting that they were told that toys, stuffed animals and games were great items that could help the young patients pass the time while they received their treatments.

Truman subsequently delivered a batch of toys and games during one of his recent visits to Primary Children’s.

“He was excited to pass on the giving that had begun with the Bombers baseball team,” his father said.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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