Toledo defensive lineman Ben Pike is coming off a season in which he ranked second in the team in sacks, and he has another year of eligibility with which to build upon that effort. But none of that matters to him, because his fiancee, Ashlee Barrett, is battling leukemia.
Barrett first learned of her illness in April 2012 and Pike has since been committed to being there for her. He made regular visits to St. Louis, where she is being treated, during this past football season. The cancer was in remission for a while, but in January of this year, she learned that it had returned. Pike is dedicated to providing support throughout her treatment -- he will graduate in May, and he plans to marry Ashlee in June.
"I know in some people's terms, he's giving up things," said Ben's mother. "But he's really not giving up. He's not giving up anything. He's really fighting for life. And he's just turned his forces to he's going to win a battle for life instead of winning on the football field."
If things go according to plan, Barrett will have a bone marrow transplant in April.