MANTECA -- Pablo Palacios is used to battling opponents on the pitch. He plays varsity soccer for East Union High School in Manteca.
"I've been playing soccer since I was 4 years old and it means everything to me,” Palacios said.
On a day when he was supposed to be playing in a game the 17-year-old was instead diagnosed with lung cancer.
“I was shocked. I really was. I never really would have thought in my life that I would end up with cancer, but I knew God was going to help me 'cause, I mean things happen for a reason,” said Palacios.
The family does have health insurance, but it won't be enough to cover all of Palacios’ chemotherapy and other medical expenses.
So, the Lancers rallied together, this time around Palacios and his family.
“He's the main heart of the team. Without him, I don’t think our team would be complete,” said Giovanni Gomez, varsity soccer captain.
The team set up a GoFundMe page with the goal to raise $20,000 for Palacios.
“We wanted to make sure he was taken care of and make sure he had nothing to worry about and make sure he will be healed soon,” Gomez said.
At a fundraiser for Palacios Thursday night, a thief stole a tip jar of donations, some of what was raised by parents and students that night.
“It made me feel heartbroken that someone would do that to such a nice person like Pablo," expressed Gomez.
While they are disappointed, they won't let that overshadow the $3,300 they raised last night.
“Sierra High School came and contributed. Some of the moms donated $300 each. Just overwhelming support from the city of Manteca right now,” said coach Ron Green.
Just as Palacios has battled on the field with his team, he knows with his family, teammates and his city behind him, he won't have to battle cancer alone either.
“They've supported me so much, even my family. We really have been doing good because of them and I appreciate it a lot,” Palacios said.