In what could very well be the least surprising winner of Major League Soccer's postseason awards, Chicago Fire goalkeeper Matt Lampson was named the league's Humanitarian of the Year.
Lampson, 27, had Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, but has been cancer free for nine years. He started his own charity, the Lampstrong Foundation, in 2014 and has hosted kids going through similar situations at Fire games this season.
After each game Lampson would go up to his "heros", talk with them and take pictures with them in the tunnel at Toyota Park or at away stadiums. Lampson, often a joking, sarcastic character, would have his most serious moments with these kids going through difficult times. Of course, he would still share some jokes to try to brighten the kids' days.
Lampson joined the Fire this offseason after beginning his career in his native Ohio with the Columbus Crew. He beat out the other two finalists for the award, Gyasi Zardes of the LA Galaxy and Luis Robles of the New York Red Bulls.
Lampson released a full statement on winning the award that is posted on the Fire's website.
"I am humbled and overwhelmingly thankful for this tremendous honor bestowed upon me," Lampson said in the statement. "However, this distinction is not mine alone. The reality is that I would never be able to reach as many lives as I do without the tremendous efforts of those close to me."
After thanking his family, the Fire and MLS, Lampson directed his attention to the patients he has worked with.
"This merit belongs to every single cancer patient, survivor, and family member that have taken the time to read my story, and be inspired to make a difference within the world," he said. "These people are the reason that I have such a passion, and they are the reason I will not stop until there is no longer cancer to be conquered. I did not initiate this ardent undertaking with accolades or awards in mind, but I am particularly grateful in this instance, as those that have made this possible, have had the opportunity to be recognized."