Young Jake Olson had a dream: to play for the USC Trojans. Many kids have a similar dream, but Jake was unique. He was battling retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer.
Olson was 10 months old when he lost his left eye due to retinoblastoma. He said he battled cancer in his right eye eight times before he was forced to go completely blind in 2009. He was 12 years old.
“We fought so hard and yet cancer wins. Then it’s like, ‘Well, I’m gonna experience something that no one else can experience,'” he told ESPN.
Olson never gave up hoping that he’d play football. He said he learned about the position of long snapper and worked tirelessly at it until he made the football team at Lutheran High School in Orange County.
After high school in 2015, Olson walked onto the USC team as a freshman. He, the team and its head coach had already formed a bond: Before Olson lost his right eye, he’d been invited to watch the team practice.
On the field for USC, Olson’s teammates supported him by clapping to let him know the distance of the snap and then tapping on his leg to let him know when he could snap.
At the age of 20, he made his debut as a Trojan long snapper in a match against Western Michigan University in 2017 and has continued to defy the odds, playing golf, becoming a motivational speaker and writing two books.
This year, he wrapped up a successful college football career to riotous cheers from USC fans. Read the full story at ABC News.