SJU Pitcher on Uncertain Future: ‘Don’t Be Overwhelmed or Afraid; That’s When Things Get Harder’

Luke Smith
Image via Heather Khalifa at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Luke Smith.

When a cancer diagnosis benched the big-league dreams of Saint Joseph’s University pitcher Luke Smith, it didn’t derail his spirit. Matt Breen profiled the 22-year-old in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Before his diagnosis, Smith’s arsenal included a 90-mph fastball and a slider he’d been honing since he was nine.

A bothersome spot on his armpit, however, revealed grey zone lymphoma, which changed everything.

Smith responded with a mix of pragmatism and determination.

“I was just like, ‘All right, I’m not really worried about it,’” Smith said. “I’m not scared or anything like that. I’ll just have to do what I have to do to get it over with.”

Academically, he’s carrying enough credits to graduate in May. And sport-wise, although he’s not playing, he remains an ardent fan, showing up to watch the team even while continually being medicated intravenously.

Smith’s current priority is to “… [k]eep my mind off what’s going on and keep living a normal lifestyle.”

He describes his mindset: “Don’t be overwhelmed or afraid. …[T]hat’s when things get harder.”

Smith wears a wristband on which are written the words he first said to a nurse when diagnosed: “I’m not afraid, and I’m going to fight.”

He routinely gives them away on campus and in the Manayunk neighborhood where he’s presently residing.

Luke Smith’s full story is at The Philadelphia Inquirer.


A 2018 video update of a patient with grey zone lymphoma.

Stay Connected, Stay Informed

Subscribe for great stories in your community!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.