Local water polo team rallying around teammate

Riley Folk recently diagnosed with leukemia

SAN DIEGO - A local water polo team is rallying around a teammate after he was diagnosed with leukemia just days ago.

It has been a tough week for 15-year-old Riley Folk. From his hospital bed at Rady Children's Hospital, he told 10News he is in a place he never imagined he would be.

"I'm tired because of chemo but it's what's expected," Folk told 10News.

Though he is tired from his first of many chemotherapy treatments, he said he is grateful for the support he has received from his family and friends, especially his water polo team at Cathedral Catholic High School.

"They're my family," he said. "I love every single one of them."

The team's bond is so strong that together they are shaving their heads in support of Riley's cancer treatments.

"I don't want to wait for my hair to fall out," he said. "You know, I just want to get it over with."

Last Thursday, Riley was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL. That is when malignant, immature white blood cells continuously multiply and are overproduced in the bone marrow. It could explain Folk's sudden onset of pain in his bones.

"A week ago, I had pain in my hips and my lower back," he said. "And I thought it was just growing pains. I had blood tests and they got it back and it said that there's like a 99 percent chance of me having leukemia. There wasn't very much I could do."

But others did, rallying around Folk's hospital bed.

Water polo rivals at The Bishop's School sent Folk a photo holding up pieces of paper that spelled out "prayer for Riley."

The men's and women's water polo teams from UCLA sent him video messages via YouTube.

While Folk is focusing on getting better, his team is focused on winning the CIF championships. They say they are doing that for Folk.

"We're going to win this year," said Folk. "There's no doubt in my mind."

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