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Annual Teen VS Police game hopes to raise funds for player battling brain cancer

Joshua Whitten.jpg
Posted at 4:29 PM, Aug 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-10 19:50:43-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The Escondido Police Athletic League is holding a basketball game with a bigger mission this weekend.

They compete in the annual Teens VS Police game, but this year the proceeds are for one of the league's own.

"Thank you a lot I feel happy, honored, and blessed when you do this," said Joshua Whitten.

The brave nine-year-old was diagnosed with Diffuse Midline Glioma, a form of brain cancer, six months ago while playing with the Escondido Police Athletic League.

"I was going through crazy stuff, and I was just doing my best," he said.

Joshua has undergone three surgeries and radiation. He said he'd done it without showing fear for his little brother.

The fight has been a hard thing for his mom, Jusmin Whitten, to watch.

"Every day I want to take away any pain he has, any appointments he has to go to. I’d rather be going through it then him," she said as her son looked at her and responded.

"Mom, you can’t go through this," he said.

For coach and director Al Owens, hearing one of his players was in the fight of his life was a shock.

"Then we were sad, but the next thing was what can we do to help,“ said Owens.

The league has helped by making rallying around Joshua— and is hosting its annual Teens Vs Police game in Joshua's honor and will donate all the money raised to his family.

"We’re doing a lot for the family because he’s one of ours,” said Owens.

Once this chapter passes and he grows up, Joshua aspires to be a YouTuber but is also open to other jobs.

"A stay-at-home dad," he said.

The Teen Vs Police game will be held at the Escondido East Community Center starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

The league hopes to raise at least $5 thousand for the Whitten family.