Dr. Phillips senior Ian Supra was all smiles before his last high school water polo game.
It was the district championship against their bitter rival Olympia, and the stands were packed. They weren’t just rooting for their team, they were rooting for their star player to beat cancer.
Ian Supra, 18, noticed something was wrong a couple of months ago when he started having trouble swallowing his food. After about three or four tests to see what it was, Supra was diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer and the spots spread to his liver.
Even though he has been through three rounds of chemotherapy, with the fourth coming up next week, he felt healthy enough to play for the last time in the district championship before he started his chemotherapy again.
Supra started the game for the Panthers, and once he put on his cap along with the rest of the other players, you almost forget that he is battling severe cancer.
The game started off slow for Dr. Phillips, with Olympia leading by a goal at the end of the first quarter. After that, Dr. Phillips pulled away, scoring seven goals in the second quarter and ultimately winning the game 17-11.
Supra finished with two goals, four assists and two steals, playing mostly the entire game. Afterwards, the referee gave “Supraman” the game ball and a big hug.
The true heart of a champion.
“It feels cool, I feel like a celebrity. It’s overwhelming at first, but I feel like I’m starting to kind of get used to it…it’s like a big family and I’m glad it came together like this,” Ian Supra said beaming from ear to ear after the game.
Since Supra was diagnosed with the cancer at the beginning of the season, he hasn’t been able to practice much with the team, making his stellar performance even more improbable.
“His heart is unreal, it’s the reason he’s going to come out of this and beat what he’s fighting. Meanwhile today it looks like he’s been practicing hard for two months, instead he’s had three rounds of chemo,” said Dr. Phillips Coach Ramirez.
Supra’s father, couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“It’s amazing, sometimes he doesn’t skip a beat. You almost kind of forget that he hasn’t been in the pool with the team, but the team responds to him and he just loves being out there,” said Ian’s father Chris Supra.
Supra has inspired people across the nation with his fight. More than $86,000 has been raised to help Ian’s family with the medical costs and his friends have been a huge factor in raising the money.
Hundreds of “Supraman” t-shirts have been sold, along with thousands of wrist bands, organized by his best friend Mateo Mayorga.
One of his friends even turned down the opportunity to attend school in California and instead plans to go to UCF so he could be close by Ian.
“As soon as he found out about Ian’s diagnosis he immediately applied to UCF…His girlfriend also applied to UCF, his other best friend Mateo and of course Ian applied there because he wants to stay close to home but we haven’t heard anything yet,” said Ian’s mother Jackie Supra.
Next week when his team is fighting for the regional and state titles in Miami, Ian will be fighting to survive round four of aggressive chemotherapy.
Fortunately for Ian, he is not Clark Kent–“Supraman” has no kryptonite.