Thursday, April 24 2014 3:47 PM EDT2014-04-24 19:47:30 GMT
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A University of Toledo
football player has decided not to play during his last year of school, so he
can spend more time with his fiancé.
"I know a lot of people
are saying I'm sacrificing a lot of things, but I don't see it that way," said
UT Defensive Lineman Ben Pike. "I'm gaining the love of my life. I get to spend
every day with her and that's something I want to do. You know, be able to
support her as she goes through this."
Pike is talking about his fiancé
Ashley Barrett, a former UT basketball player.
Barrett was diagnosed with
Leukemia last April. After some treatment, the cancer returned in January.
"Any time you have a loved
one going through such a hard thing, you know, it's tough," Pike said. "We both
know that we have to battle through it and she's fighting every day, as hard as
she can. We know eventually we'll make it through and come out better on the
Pike admires Barrett and
is happy to put her above football.
"She's the most wonderful
person I've ever met," he said. "Just the way she cares and loves for others,
and just such a good soul…I mean, she's hands-down my hero."
Barrett's former teammates
said the same.
"When I first met her, she
had the biggest smile on her face," Riley McCormick said. "I don't think it
In honor of Barrett, her
former team wears an "A" on their sneakers, and on Saturday they are honoring
her at the UT "Pink Game" by wearing T-shirts that say, "Faith not Fear" on the
back, a slogan started by Barrett.