ST. MICHAEL, Minn. - September is "Tackle Cancer Month" in Minnesota with nearly 140 high school football teams across the state taking part. Each team has its reasons to help raise money and awareness for cancer research and the reason for St. Michael-Albertville on Friday night is sadly very personal for a senior at St. Michael-Albertville High School.
Sean Scharlau is a beast in the weight room. "We have this pyramid of success where we have to lay the concrete of the base first which is commitment and going in the weight room," said Sean.
"Sean's a real leader for us," said Jared Essler, the head coach of the St. Michael-Albertville football team.
Sean, a St Michael-Albertville senior lineman, set the school record in the squat with a lift of 500 pounds back in the squat. He also established a new mark in the power clean with a lift of 290 pounds.
"He buys into the things were preaching," said Essler.
And he did all of this with a heavy heart.
"They come back from the hospital, my mom's like we need to talk to you and they set me and my brother down and they said your dad's got stage four cancer. It was like it just came out of nowhere," said Sean.
That was back in January, Sean's father, Tony, at age 48, was diagnosed with cancer.
"The first thing me and my brother said was we want you to fight it and that's what he did for seven months," said Sean.
Tony did fight, but lost the battle in late July, just a few weeks before the start of Sean's senior football season.
That's why the Tackle Cancer project is so important to the St. Michael-Albertville Knights. They know what Sean has faced and they want to make a difference.
"From a point of view of what we saw he was same old guy and that's where your heart really reaches out to him because you know there's tough times at home," said Essler.
"I would say I play for my dad, like every game I go out there and try to impress him," said Sean.
Tackle Cancer is a partnership between the Minnesota Football Coaches Association and the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund
. All of the money raised stays in Minnesota to fund important research and patient aid.
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