J Austin Chiefs
COLUMBIA - A Columbia native named Matt May has been a Chiefs fan since the day he was born.
"We have just such an incredible team and an incredible coach and just from the top down… it’s special,” he said.
He also has a great love for teaching. Ever since he was in the ninth grade, he wanted to teach middle school students.
May started his journey to be a teacher by attending Truman State University in Kirksville.
Near the end of his freshman year, he started to feel some pain and discomfort in his body.
"Just wasn't feeling good," he said, "Came down and went to the doctor. Got some tests done and they were like 'You may need to get more things checked out."
May was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia which is found in the bone marrow.
This left his parents scrambling for something to give him for positive encouragement.
His dad, Tom said, "When Matthew got sick, I reached out to one of my buddies and let him know what was going on. He happens to be good friends with the Kansas City Chiefs CFO Dan Crumb."
Crumb put together a gift package including a signed jersey from his role model, Chiefs safety Eric Berry.
"Eric Berry is a cancer survivor and just an incredible... something to aspire to," May said.
Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014. After going through treatment and missing games, he was considered cancer free in 2015.
When Berry came back, Matt's joy brought him to tears.
"Looking over at him when Eric Berry came back from his illness and got to play," Matt's mom, Robin said,"There are just tears running down his face because it's different for Matthew. He knows what it takes for Eric Berry to get where he's at."
When Matt and Robin were asked what they would say to Eric Berry, their answers were very similar.
Matt May said, "I just want to say thank. He is such an incredible role model. Just on and off the field."
"I would just say thank you for inspiring Matthew and always remember football is a game and we all love it," Robin May said.
Tom May was brought to tears when asked what he would say to Eric Berry.
"Just that warrior mentality he has that he's not a guy that is out there beating his chest... It's an honor to have someone like him to have your kid look up to," he said.
Matt May is taking chemotherapy pills every day, and plans to be cancer free at the end of February.