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Cubs draft lifelong fan, cancer survivor Gibis

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Pierson Gibis is a lifelong Cubs fan. And nearly two years after being diagnosed with cancer, the 18-year-old was selected by his favorite team in the 39th round of the MLB Draft.

"Thank you to anyone who made something like this happen," Gibis said of getting drafted. "Looking back on it being a 5-year-old kid, saying I want to play for the Cubs one day or get drafted by the Cubs or anything -- it's just a surreal experience."

CHICAGO -- Pierson Gibis is a lifelong Cubs fan. And nearly two years after being diagnosed with cancer, the 18-year-old was selected by his favorite team in the 39th round of the MLB Draft.

"Thank you to anyone who made something like this happen," Gibis said of getting drafted. "Looking back on it being a 5-year-old kid, saying I want to play for the Cubs one day or get drafted by the Cubs or anything -- it's just a surreal experience."

Gibis is now cancer-free. He finished chemotherapy in October and radiation treatment in November, and he began working out again in December. He felt strong enough this spring to play with the Racine Hitters Baseball Academy.

Tweet from @PiersonGibis: Good luck to @JKelenic_1019 @AlexBinelas13 and @jacobcampbell77 in the @MLB draft these next few days. Can���t wait to see what you guys will accomplish!! pic.twitter.com/WjgEZG7NLc

Gibis graduated from Wauconda High School (Ill.) last year and was a solid catcher there. He had hopes of getting a college baseball scholarship before he was rushed to the emergency room in August 2016. He was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of childhood cancer normally found in kids younger than Gibis.

He couldn't go to school for 65 weeks and had to take online classes to graduate. College and his dream of playing baseball there were put on hold.

Gibis even had to sit out a Cubs game he had a ticket for during September 2016, weeks before his favorite team won its first World Series title since 1908, according to the Daily Herald.

Gibis is attending Madison College this fall and will play baseball there.

Tweet from @mcpackbaseball: Great pick @Cubs!! But we would like @PiersonGibis to be a WolfPack first!!! https://t.co/WRA0UVz9tL

In 2017, Gibis was the first recipient of the Charlie Donovan Passion for the Game Award, which is presented by the Chicago Scouts Association. The late Cubs baseball scout Stan Zielinski helped create the award.

"I've just been filled with happiness but also confusion. It feels like a dream," Gibis said. "I'm overwhelmed and so stoked about everything. I can't even put it into words."

Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

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