Keiser University Seahawk football players and former roommates Tyler Foster and Alessandro Cantillo recently joined others in paying tribute to loved ones on the field.
The breast cancer awareness event took place at Keiser University’s football field just prior to the Seahawks defeating Webber International University 28-7 in the Mid-South Conference Sun Division matchup. To watch ESPN video coverage of the story, please click here.
Foster, who serves as the team’s wide receiver shared how his mom provides inspiration both in everyday life and in competitive sports. “I’ve never met anyone stronger and am honored to call her my mother. She keeps our family bonded together and the fact that she travels three hours from Mount Dora, Florida to support me at our games really puts things in perspective and makes me want to do even better,” he said.
For Alessandro Cantillo, the opportunity to support Foster after his stepmother Maria Suarez-Cantillo survived the disease was a blessing. “I look at Ty as my little brother, so was glad to be there to share our family’s experience and that things can get better, as she is now well and strong,” he said.
After recognizing that ‘something was off, and wasn’t feeling quite right,’ Danielle Foster visited her doctor in December 2020 to investigate and was diagnosed with breast cancer soon after. Despite the road to recovery involving intense treatments and a mastectomy, she has still managed to attend football games with her family to cheer Tyler on and just recently celebrated her last chemotherapy session on October 7th.
When asked what she’d recommend to others who are facing a cancer diagnosis, Foster reflected, “If something isn’t feeling quite right, get it checked out, as it’s important to listen to your body and to be your own advocate while also relying on your loved ones for help. My doctor really listened to me and I am very thankful to him for saving my life,” she said.
Foster also shared that support from family and friends can influence the road to recovery. “With the surgeries, medications, and side effects, the journey can be painful and scary, so it’s important to remind yourself of those you are living for, as it serves as a huge motivation to get through it,” added Foster. “I’m very grateful that my family members continue to thrive despite my health challenges.”
Suarez-Cantillo shared her thoughts regarding how to get through such a tough season in life. “Maintaining a positive outlook, no matter how hard things get is important. Even when it’s something like cancer that can be devastating and include so many unknown factors, the positive support of family, friends and coworkers throughout the journey can make all the difference.
Keiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students at 21 Florida campuses, online, and two international sites. Co-founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, Keiser University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associates to the doctoral level. Keiser University is a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and was ranked No. 11 in the U.S. in Social Mobility by U.S. News and World Reports in 2021.