Cancer survivor to represent Royals at Classic

Cancer survivor to represent Royals at Classic

Cancer survivor to represent Royals at Classic

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball and PEOPLE Magazine on Wednesday announced the 30 winners of the "Tribute for Heroes" campaign, naming Clayton Zupon as the Royals' representative.


Zupon, who was selected by fans to represent the Royals, will join one winner from each fan base in being a part of All-Star Week festivities. The winners will be honored during pregame ceremonies ahead of next Tuesday's All-Star Game at Citi Field.

Zupon originally passed up potential baseball scholarships to join the Marines. During his second deployment to the Middle East, however, doctors discovered a tumor in his brain and later found another in his spine. He was given 12 months to live and was honorably discharged with a medical retirement at 100 percent in 2010.

Now, three years later, the single father with a 2-year old son is still defying the odds while helping give back to the community. He spends his time volunteering with children at the cancer center at a Kansas City children's hospital and also teaches and coaches kids' bowling on weekends.

The "Tribute for Heroes"campaign supports Welcome Back Veterans, an initiative of Major League baseball and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The program aids veterans in various areas of need upon their return from service.

Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.