GRAND FORKS, ND--He's been rallying athletes in Grand Forks for a decade.



He's considered a Gem to their success - but on Thursday night, the same athletes he's been helping rallied around him as he battles the fight of a lifetime.

It's pretty simple why Patrick Anderson means so much to so many athletes.

"His passion, he enjoys Special Olympics as much as we do. He got involved as a freshman at UND," said Special Olympics Athlete, Eric Baumann.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

He was required to volunteer for a few hours in the community. It quickly became a part of his life.

"Kind of fell in love with it, you had to do 10, by the end of got to 90 even though you didn't need them," said Special Olympics Coach, Patrick Anderson.

He became a part of the lives of so many athletes as a coach over the past ten years - both on and off the field.

"He makes us special in our own ways," said Erin Baumann.

"He cares so much for the individual athletes that it doesn't matter to him if they have a different intellect or ability he expects the best from them," said Erin's mom, Meredith Baumann.

And now his athletes are expecting the best from Patrick.

But this is far from any event on the field - it's the game of life.

"It took the wind out of all of our sails along with the athletes," said Meredith.

The 29-year-old Special Ed Teacher is battling a brain tumor.

Doctors were able to remove 90 percent of it - but his long term prognosis is unknown.

"I just try not to think about it, it's not there, it's not in my head," said Patrick.

Patrick is undergoing radiation, but is still too weak for chemo.

However, he hopes to return to the athletes he loves so much in the near future.

"It's the people, if you have down syndrome or coaching, most people just want to go there and have fun, that's what I like to do," said Patrick.

When he does return, those athletes will hold this beloved coach to the Special Olympics motto which reads, "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

"He can do this, he's a champion, he's a fighter, this is his moment to fight this tumor," said Erin.

Since Patrick Anderson's recovery is far from over a benefit will be held this Saturday at the VFW in East Grand Forks.

The benefit starts at 6 and goes until 2 am.

They'll be serving walking tacos, and hold a free-will offering with a DJ and a silent auction.

One of the items being auctioned off is an autographed Brock Boeser hockey stick.

If you can't make the benefit and would still like to help, Lend A Hand Up is boosting all donations by 20 percent.

If you'd like to make a donation, click here.