IU football embodies ‘Love Each Other’ philosophy in support of student manager in cancer battle
Returning to Memorial Stadium and to his role as a manager for the IU football team is something Matt Stauder isn’t taking for granted.
“I drove my mom crazy this summer, I told her, ‘All that I am worried about is if I am going to be back here for football,” the IU senior admitted.
This spring, the senior from Westfield was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. When he underwent surgery, his Hoosiers were there to show support, IU assistant and running backs coach Mike Hart was even by his hospital bedside.
Running back Ricky Brookins took the lead on starting a GoFundMe campaign to help Matt with his medical costs, generating more than $23,000 in donations.
“There were even players from other teams sending donations and messaging us saying, ‘It’s deeper than football,” Brookins explained. “I’m like, that’s what this game is all about just the community and it builds a brotherhood regardless of where you go.”
"The fact he would do something like that for me meant so much to my family and I,” Stauder said of Brookins’ initiative. "As soon as I got back here July 31 I told them, 'I'm ready to go, whatever I can do let me know, I want to pay my gratitude.'"
Matt is grateful to be back not only to open a new season with his guys but to also have their support of his teammates after losing his father suddenly last year.
"The one-year anniversary of his passing is actually this Saturday when we are in Miami for the FIU game. I know during this tough weekend they will definitely come around me and make sure that I am feeling good,” Stauder said of IU’a season opener at Florida International.
LEO is the motto of the Indiana Hoosiers football program. Tom Allen established that "Love Each Other" mentality ahead of his first season as head coach last year, and there's been no greater demonstration of how the program has embraced that love each other attitude than the outpouring of support for Matt Stauder.
"LEO is everything what Coach Allen says love each other, you can see it here from not even just my running back group any other player on the team,” the sports management and marketing major explained.
"I think that shows our team is more than just a team, we are literally brothers in and out of football and I think that just shows that,” Brookins added.
Matt will make the trip from Bloomington to Indy for three more treatments in the coming weeks, and has a message for anyone else battling through a similar struggle.
"If you do everything the doctor tells you to and you maintain a great attitude throughout the whole thing and keep a strong faith, you can prosper and rise above it."