There are some incredible stories over the years from disabled athletes who not only fought through and overcame their obstacles, but did so in a way that simply left everyone else inspired…and in some cases, heartbroken. Eddie Nogay, a New York-area high school boys volleyball player, passed away on Tuesday after a long battle with lung cancer that took his right arm — his dominant arm — but not his will.
A tumor in Nogay’s right arm was originally thought to be non-cancerous, but by the time got the results back from his doctor, the cancer had already spread to his nervous system and his arm had to be amputated to prolong his life. That allowed him to continue playing through his senior year with his left arm, which didn’t slow him down at all, according to his teammates in the video above.
Although his life was prolonged by the amputation, it wasn’t saved. But Nogay made a promise to his mother and brother that he would not die on or before Wednesday, his 18th birthday, and he kept that promise, which is proved by his official time of death: 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
Nogay’s birthday party was at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and was attended by his family and roughly 50 teammates, classmates and friends who admired him so much and didn’t look at him any differently following the amputation. To say Nogay will be remembered as a legendary volleyball player at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn is an understatement.