Boy With Cancer Who Took Picture With MLB Star Reunites With Him 13 Years Later as a Dodger

When Devin Smeltzer was just 9 years old, the young Philadelphia Phillies fan found himself frequently feeling the urge to go to the bathroom. Doctors would soon find a grapefruit-sized tumor pressing against his bladder, and he was diagnosed with cancer just a month before his 10th birthday.

Smeltzer, who started playing baseball when he was just 4 years old, found a bit of happiness while going through treatment when he was able to take to the field. The game of baseball gave Smeltzer a feeling of normalcy as going to crowded places like school and church were taken away because of his compromised immune system, he told Spectrum Sportsnet.

Smeltzer got his chance to mingle with major league players in 2006 when he visited Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, the home of his favorite MLB team. It was there that Smeltzer—who, at that point, had lost his hair due to chemotherapy and radiation treatment for his pelvic rhabdomyosarcoma—was able to spend time with two of the Phillies’ players, pitcher Cole Hamels, and second-baseman, Chase Utley. A picture was taken of Utley signing his autograph on a Phillies hat for an eager Smeltzer, who was then a patient at St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia.

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“The picture of me and Chase has been in the living room for a long time,” Smeltzer, 22, told the news outlet. “When I go back home, it’s always very humbling to see that picture because of where I’m at today. It’s crazy to believe that I was going through such a hard time at such a young age, and how far I’ve grown.”

In the years since, Smeltzer has maintained his love of baseball, and continued playing the game when he entered college. In 2016, he was selected in the fifth round of the MLB draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers, and his cancer is now in remission, according to the LA Daily News. A year before Smeltzer’s selection in the draft, Chase Utley was traded from the Phillies to the Dodgers, where he has played ever since.

Smeltzer has since been a pitcher in the Dodgers’ farm system in the minor leagues, and during spring training this year, the team brought him into the clubhouse where manager Dave Roberts had the picture of Smeltzer and Utley in hand.

After telling the team Smeltzer’s unlikely story, Utley and the pitching prospect had a chance to reunite, more than a decade after taking their picture together in Philadelphia.

“I was able to play through it,” Smeltzer said to Utley in the Dodgers clubhouse. “I just wanted to thank you for everything you did. It means a lot.”

Smeltzer is now leading a campaign to raise funds for Katie’s Krusaders, an organization that provides financial and personal support for kids with cancer or other childhood diseases. He hopes to raise money for every strikeout he throws this season, so he can help other children who are in the same position he once was.

“It’s a pretty special and unique story with Devin,” Utley told Sportsnet of Smeltzer. “I can’t even imagine what he was going through, what his parents were going through… Hopefully, at some point, he’ll be pitching at Dodger Stadium.”

Eat, Pray, Love Author Elizabeth Gilbert Mourns Death of Partner Rayya Elias

Elizabeth Gilbert‘s partner Rayya Elias has died. She was 57.

The author of the best-selling novel Eat, Pray, Love confirmed the sad news in statements shared on Instagram and Twitter Thursday. Elias, a fellow author, songwriter and short filmmaker, was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer in spring 2016.

“She was my love, my heart, my best friend, my teacher, my rebel, my angel, my protector, my challenger, my partner, my muse, my wizard, my surprise, my gift, my comet, my liberator, my rock star, my completely impossible non-cooperator, my otherworldly visitor, my spiritual portal, and my baby,” Gilbert wrote along with a photo of Elias happily playing guitar.

“I loved you so much, Rayya. Thank you for letting me walk with you right to the edge of the river. It has been the greatest honor of my life. I would tell you to rest in peace, but I know that you always found peace boring. May you rest in excitement. I will always love you,” she said on Instagram.

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In September 2016, just over two months after announcing her separation from husband José Nunes, Gilbert publicly shared on Facebook that she found love again with her best friend of 15 years, Elias.

Gilbert met husband Nunes while traveling through Italy, India and Bali after the unraveling of her first marriage – a trip that inspired the 2006 hit memoir, which has gone on to sell more than 10 million copies. Eat, Pray, Love was also adapted for the big screen in 2010, with Julia Roberts as Gilbert.

“I loved you so much, Rayya. Thank you for letting me walk with you right to edge of the river. It has been the greatest honor of my life,” Gilbert wrote on Twitter Thursday. “I would tell you to rest in peace, but I know that you always found peace boring. May you rest in excitement. I will always love you.”

In June 2017, Gilbert and Elias celebrated their love with a “simple and spontaneous ceremony of love.”

Elias detailed her life as a gay Middle Eastern woman whose family moved to the U.S. at 8-years-old in 1968 in her 2013 memoir, Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair and Post-Punk, in which she also recalled her time as a homeless woman, prison inmate and drug addict.

'I Want to Use My Voice to Help:' Facebook Exec Reveals Incurable Cancer

Facebook Vice President for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Nicola Mendelsohn revealed on Sunday—World Cancer Day—that she has a currently incurable form of lymphoma.

The VP shared the story of her diagnosis and subsequent experience in an article in The Sunday Times.

Mendelsohn says that in late 2016 she found a tiny lump in her groin. After going for a number of tests and scans, a CT scan showed that she had numerous tumors throughout her body. She was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, which she called a “terrible shock,” as she “didn’t even feel ill.”

Facebook hired Mendelsohn as its VP of EMEA in 2013. Her position is the company’s most senior outside the U.S. Prior to joining the social network, Mendelsohn worked in advertising for a number of agencies, including Grey London and Karmarama.

Since her diagnosis, Mendelsohn has given up processed sugar and has begun to exercise twice a week. She notes that “it’s ironic, but I feel much healthier now.” Other than changes to her diet and exercise, Mendelsohn has not begun any form of treatment.

Unlike other forms of cancer, Mendelsohn says, follicular lymphoma is slow growing, meaning that patients are able to “survive a long time without treatment.” For now, she has decided to pursue a “watch and wait” approach, meaning she’s monitoring her symptoms. Should they worsen, Mendelsohn would start a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

While choosing the approach to treatment is a personal one, Mendelsohn explains that she decided to share her story publicly to raise awareness—both to encourage individuals to check for symptoms and to increase funding into researching follicular lymphoma. Lymphoma is the fifth most common cancer in the U.K., and follicular is the most common of the non-Hodgkin (slow-growing) forms, yet few people know about it and misdiagnosis is common.

“That’s why we need to raise awareness and get more money invested in it, so we can find a cure,” Mendelsohn writes. “With any disease, progress towards treatments is made when people come out to say: ‘What more can we do?’”

“That’s why I want to tell my story. It’s rare to see people in business telling personal stories like this,” she says. “I want to use my voice to help other people.”

Florida Teen Initially Diagnosed with the Flu Discovers He Actually Has Stage 4 Cancer

Just weeks after being diagnosed with the flu, a 16-year-old boy from Florida discovered that he actually had stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

When Hunter Brady, of Hudson, began to feel sick, weak and short of breath in November, his parents took him to his physician. The doctor said he had a virus that was most likely the flu and sent him home with antibiotics.

“I was on the antibiotics for two weeks and was feeling worse,” Hunter tells PEOPLE. “I had to sleep sitting up. My dad looked at me one night at dinner and said we were going to the hospital.”

When Hunter arrived at Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor, Florida, a CAT scan revealed that his entire right lung had collapsed and his left lung was 30 percent collapsed.

“They said this was the worst X-ray they had ever seen on a child,” Hunter’s mother, Cheryl Brady, tells PEOPLE. “He was then sent to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa because they had a pulmonary doctor.”

When he arrived, Hunter underwent five surgeries to drain fluid from his heart and lungs. Then the hospital performed a biopsy on January 4 that revealed he had the most aggressive form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

“I was shocked and so scared,” says Hunter, who started aggressive chemotherapy treatment on January 8. “But I knew I could beat this so I stayed positive. I kept a lot of faith.”

The teen who dreams of being a pastor one day says that his mentor, who is also a pastor, and his mom, have showed him “that I can do whatever I put my mind to.”

Since his diagnosis, Hunter — who has always loved being outdoors and fishing with his siblings — has received several rounds of chemotherapy and has a survival rate of about 65 percent. He returned home on Tuesday and has two more treatments and will then start radiation.

Cheryl says that her son has always been “so humble” and has told people he’d rather be the one sick over his six brothers and sisters.

“The community has come together and so many people have reached out,” says Cheryl. “It inspires him to want to push forward and beat this. We feel very blessed by that.”

The family has also created a YouCaring fundraising page to help with medical expenses that are not covered by insurance.

“There is no turning back,” says Hunter. “Hearing from people that I’m an inspiration has made me feel better than I ever could have imagined.”

M*A*S*H actor David Ogden Stiers dies at 75

M*A*S*H actor David Ogden Stiers died of cancer on Saturday, his agent confirmed. He was 75.

“I am very sad to report that David died this morning March 3, 2018 peacefully at his home in Newport, Oregon after a courageous battle with bladder cancer,” Stiers’ agent, Mitchell K. Stubbs tweeted. “His talent was only surpassed by his heart.”

Stiers earned two Emmy nominations for his role on M*A*S*H as Major Charles Winchester III, a talented surgeon who filled the void left when Larry Linville’s Frank Burns left the series. Stiers starred on the series from 1977 to 1983 and followed it with regular appearances on North and South, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Matlock, Touched by an Angel, and Frasier, as well as a memorable performance as the father, Al Meyer, in 1985’s Better Off Dead…. He earned a third Emmy nomination in 1984 for his portrayal of United States Olympic Committee founder William Milligan Sloane in the NBC miniseries The First Olympics: Athens 1896.

The actor had a prolific voice acting career which included the roles of Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast, Governor Ratcliffe and Wiggins in Pocahontas, Jumba in Lilo & Stitch, and the narrator in M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water.

Stiers began his career in 1974 in a minor role in Broadway’s The Magic Show. Several small gigs in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Charlie’s Angels, and Kojak followed before he earned his place on M*A*S*H.

Stiers was also musically inclined: He served as the associate conductor for the Newport Symphony Orchestra in Oregon and guest-conducted dozens of orchestras around the world.

Woman Goes to Doctor With 'Food Poisoning' and Learns She Has Colon Cancer: 'I Was Distraught'

Diana Zepeda, of Washington, D.C., says she initially thought her stomach pains were due to an unhealthy diet. But a trip to the doctor resulted in a much scarier diagnosis for the 34-year-old.

“I thought I could eat anything and have a stomach of steel. I was getting what I thought was random food poisoning, but kind of often. A lot of gas, cramps and diarrhea,” Zepeda tells PEOPLE. “I just thought I had one of those stomach bugs and it would just last a couple of days.”

She adds: “I thought I could fix it with diet, I thought that was my issue. So I did a whole month where I cut out grains and dairy and sugar. And I’m like, ‘This is what my body needs and it’ll go away!’ ”

Still, over about three months, Zepeda’s symptoms grew worse. By January 2017, Zepeda was suffering diarrhea every day and even found blood in her stool, she says. She decided to meet with a gastroenterologist, and tests showed Zepeda had E. Coli. But the prescribed antibiotics for the illness didn’t help.

“First I was relieved that whatever it was could be cured with five days of antibiotics. I thought it was over … happily ever after. But that wasn’t the case unfortunately,” she says. “I was dreading what ever the actual diagnosis would be.”

Soon, a doctor scheduled a colonoscopy for Zepeda. But, while prepping for the procedure, she suffered severe vomiting, stomach cramps and nausea. So, doctors decided to give Zepeda a sigmoidoscopy (a partial colonoscopy). That’s when they made a shocking discovery: there was a tumor blocking Zepeda’s colon.

Doctors diagnosed Zepeda with stage 4 colon cancer.

“After the initial shock and disbelief, my first thoughts were, ‘What did I do wrong to get this?’ Because I think everyone thinks of colon cancer as an old people’s disease,” Zepeda says. “I thought, ‘Was it all the microwaved Pop-Tarts I ate in college? Or all the microwave Lean Cuisines?  Like, what did I do to cause this?’ ”

The cancer spread to her liver and Zepeda spent the next six months undergoing chemotherapy and a series of surgeries. She says the experience left her feeling “completely depleted.”

“I didn’t have the strength to walk for almost an entire month. I was bedridden. The hardest part was definitely chemo … After the very first treatment, I was ready to quit. I felt really depressed and really isolated. I was like, ‘I can’t do this. I’ve already gone through enough. I can’t do six months of this.’ ”

But she did. Zepeda celebrated underwent her final treatment on Thursday. To celebrate the big day, she and her husband, Alexander Sweeney, dressed in formal wear to the hospital.

“I was really distraught at the beginning of it, thinking I couldn’t do it,” she recalls. “Then I went, just like, ‘I need to finish this, what ever it takes.’And here I am, I just finished today!”

Although Zepeda is set to undergo another surgery soon, and it will be a few years before she’s officially in remission, Zepeda says she’s excited to get back to living her life.

“I really miss traveling and just being busy with friends,” she tells PEOPLE. “I’ve been sitting everything out and I’ve had FOMO [fear of missing out] for like nine months. I’m excited to go back to normal as much as I can.”

Now, Zepeda is sharing her story to raise awareness about “young onset” colon cancer. Researchers with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance are looking to determine why more young people are suffering from the illness. People under the age of 50 are at least four times more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer than they were in 1990, according to the CCA, citing the American Cancer Society.