EA Sports Immortalizes Teenage Cancer Survivor in ‘FIFA 17’
Sports| | By Brian Delpozo
EA Sports – the brand behind Madden NFL, NBA Live, and FIFA – use the slogan “it’s in the game” to promote the realism of their sports video games. However, the company’s recent gesture towards a die-hard fan who went through a tough battle with cancer gave the words a whole new meaning.
Prior to last October, 15-year-old Kenton Doust was a typical teenage boy. Like many he was a passionate gamer and sports fan, with allegiance to his hometown Major League Soccer team, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. His life changed last year when doctors found three tumors near his pituitary gland. Doust began chemotherapy treatment in October 2015. After seven months of grueling treatment, he was declared cancer-free on May 19, 2016.
Russel Theibert, a defender for the Whitecaps, was by Doust’s side that day in May. The MLS star heard about Doust’s story, and had initially sent over jerseys and other memorabilia to the boy while he was in treatment. The two developed a close relationship, as Doust described in an emotional Instagram post.
I love this man with all my heart. He has helped me so much throughout my journey with cancer. He really helped me whilst I was in some of my worst times at the hospital. He has done so much for my family and I we honestly cannot thank you enough. This photo was taken after I had beat cancer he was there to hear my results he was always there for me. I love you man!
A photo posted by Kenton Doust (@kentondoust) on
He wrote in part, “He (Theibert) has helped me so much throughout my journey with cancer. He really helped me whilst I was in some of my worst times at the hospital. He has done so much for my family and I we (sic) honestly cannot thank you enough.”
In addition to Theibert, Vancouver-based EA Sports also heard about Doust’s story. The company decided to honor the courageous teen by making him a playable character in the upcoming 2017 version of their long-running FIFA game.
The company added a virtual version of Doust in FIFA 17 with his own special “FIFA Ultimate Team” player card and staff card — both available for general use within the game. They also bestowed the boy’s character with a 95 rating, putting him up there with some of the best players in the world.
— Kenton Doust (@KentonDoust) December 6, 2016
If Doust’s Twitter account is any indication, the gesture meant a great deal to him. Along with a screenshot from the game, he wrote, “it’s amazing what they did for me and how much it helped me.”