Stephen Chase is a 17-year-old who was diagnosed with cancer just six days after his last birthday. The high school senior has not let that stop him from volunteering in his community and doing whatever he can to get back onto the football field. He currently supports his team by filming practices, analyzing plays, motivating his teammates and anything else the coach might need.
The former outside linebacker can be found serving others at the local soup kitchen either preparing meals, serving, cleaning up around the hall or engaging with the guests that come to eat a meal they otherwise may not have without the services provided voluntarily at the soup kitchen.
Stephen and his mom began helping there a few years back after a teacher suggested that he volunteer to help others in the community. The amazing thing is even after his diagnosis, Stephen continued to serve because he fell in love with working there.
The people gathered together for a sit down meal that he had part in providing. When winter hit in Cleveland, that didn't stop him. As soon as his blood levels were good enough, you could find him serving meals outside in the cold to those who were on the streets outside of the Wolstein Center.
He endearingly cares for those he encounters who are homeless, in need of clothing, or families who are in and out of shelters because "it makes me happy and it's a stress release, in a way," Chase said. "It really humbles me and makes me think I should be grateful for what I have, because they have less than I do."
He was raised to support all Cleveland teams by his grandpa who began watching the Browns in the original Browns stadium and didn't stop after witnessing the 1964 championship!
When Stephen found out he would be the First and Ten Coin Toss Captain he said that he was excited and wanted to be remembered for "genuinely caring about other people and doing my best to help in any way possible."
When his coach coordinated the opportunity and encouraged his players to give back, Stephen was on completely on board as he cites older players being role models when he was growing up. "When I was younger I looked up to them so much. I want them to grow up loving the game."
The extent of his volunteering with youth doesn't end there either. Because his mom is a teacher at Burton Elementary he's had the opportunity to be a teacher's aid of sorts that would help educators set up their classrooms and prepare lesson plans.
This inspiring young man, refuses to give up at any point, mentioning that he was depressed at times, but he had to maintain a positive attitude and know that everything was going to be okay in the end.
That same tenacity has fueled his desire to get back on the football field with his teammates from Berkshire High School in Burton, Ohio. This summer outside of being the coach's right hand, he's helped with drills and mentoring at the youth football camp in his area.
So during Play Football Month, the Cleveland Browns were honored to recognize Stephen Chase for his unwavering dedication to his community and the game of football as he overcomes obstacles and illnesses that threaten to be bigger than himself.
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The Browns are dedicated to #give10 through the team's First and Ten initiative. Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign is the team's community program, established to inspire fans to volunteer in and help their communities throughout the world by volunteering for 10 hours each year. Since its inception, Browns fans have committed to volunteering more than 2.0 million hours to impact their communities by pledging to #give10. Through First and Ten, the Browns are the only NFL club to promote a long-term volunteering program that unifies the team and its entire fan base, with the goal of impacting every individual's city across the globe, as well as the franchise's local community. All Browns fans are encouraged to join the volunteering effort by signing the First and Ten pledge on the team's website and by sharing their stories with #give10