For nearly three and a half years, 9-year-old Tennyson Erickson has battled Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. On Thursday, that battle came to an end. After 1,206 days in-treatment, he finally rang his victory bell, doing so while donning the jersey of his favorite athlete: the No. 11 of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
Two years ago, Erickson met Fitzgerald while visiting the Cardinals minicamp at their training facility in Tempe through the efforts of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and as part of ESPN’s My Wish series.
During that visit in June, 2018, Erickson spent one-on-one time with Fitzgerald and several other Cardinals players, signed a team contract with owner Michael Bidwill, participated in the team’s media day photo shoot and took part in the team’s final practice of the day, per the franchise. He closed the practice by running the last play with the team.
Since then, the Erickson family has kept in touch with the Cardinals and Fitzgerald. They attended a few games in Minnesota when the organization faced the Vikings. While sitting in the front row at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 6 of the 2018 season, Tennyson caught a game ball Fitzgerald tossed to him during a break in the action, per the team. Erickson also attended a number of games in Arizona, most recently when the Cardinals hosted the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football in 2019.
So, on Thursday, after Erickson rang the victory bell at Sanford Children’s Castle of Care Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to signify the end of his treatments, a Zoom videoconference with Fitzgerald topped off a truly momentous achievement. The Cardinals wideout joined the group from Arizona so he could watch the bell-ringing ceremony and speak with Erickson directly.
Since being diagnosed in February of 2017, Tennyson’s courageous battle has seen him endure:
- 1,206 days in-treatment
- Three bone aspirations
- 21 spinal taps
- 10 different chemotherapies
- 34 nights in the hospital
- Three emergency room visits
- Two surgeries
- Three blood transfusions