By Tracy Clemons
BREESE, Ill. (KSDK) - A terminally ill 16-year-old got the surprise of his life during a high school football game Friday night.
"Team Galen" took over at the Central High School football stadium in Breese, Ill.
"It's overwhelming," said Allan Huelsmann.
Huelsmann's son, Galen, was diagnosed with leukemia in July 2012. He says the symptoms showed up during football tryouts.
"It showed up rather rapidly. He was wanting to play. He's a big kid and was looking forward to being on the team. So he never had the opportunity to come back and join the team," he said.
That changed Friday night. A day after getting out of the hospital, Galen showed up to the game in a stretch limo to hundreds of cheering fans. He got to greet the young men he'd hoped would be his teammates. And he was an honorary starter.
"If you knew our community we're really into rivalries and sports," said senior Alexis Strieker. "But for everyone to stop what they're doing and come together to support someone who's fighting for their life just exemplifies the type of people that are in this community."
This game was supposed to be the celebrations of the 20 and 30 year class reunions for Central High School. But they pushed all those festivities to the side for this game, and all of the celebrating is for the life of Galen.
"It just shows the unbelievable support of a small community," said Huelsmann.
A small community praying that Galen will defy the odds.