RENTON, Wash. — “I wanted them to relate to my story.”
That was the message from Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin to a group of fathers and sons after Seahawks practice at the team’s headquarters in Renton. They all have stories to tell. All have faced some sort of life-threatening challenge.
Including 16-year old Jake Eastwood from Mill Creek. At age 12, Jake was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. He underwent chemotherapy. One year later, doctors discovered the cancer in Jake’s knee.
“I had to get my leg amputated,” said the student from Jackson High School.
“It was devastating as you can imagine,” His father Chris added. “It’s kind of indescribable.”
For Jake, when the Seahawks drafted Griffin, the first one-handed player in the NFL, everything changed.
“It just gave me more motivation to pursue my goals,” Jake said. “And even though I’m an amputee, I can do anything.”
Call it the “Griffin effect.” Jake competes in wheelchair basketball, swimming, and golf. He also loves to ski and surf. Thanks to Griffin, he believes he too can do it at the highest level.
Griffin was ready to motivate when he met with the group of fathers and sons. The opportunity was set up by Gillette and the Seahawks.
Griffin told stories about how his father motivated him.
“He was my biggest fan and my biggest critic,” Griffin said. “He just wanted to see me live out my dreams.”
On the following Sunday when the Seahawks hosted the 49ers at Centurylink Field, the fathers and sons got the ultimate fan experience.
They toured the press box, the platform where the 12-flag is raised before every home game, and joined the Seahawks on the field as they warmed up for the game.
“Really cool just seeing this perspective,” Jake said.
A teenager whose perspective on life and dreams have forever changed, courtesy of Griffin.
“He was so inspirational to just keep on fighting, even when it gets hard,” Jake said “To keep on fighting to get my goals.”