Vet who battled brain cancer chosen to attend All-Star Game - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Local vet who battled brain cancer chosen to attend MLB All-Star Game

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Clayton Zupon Clayton Zupon
PECULIAR, MO (KCTV) -

Next week the Kansas City Royals will have two players at the All-Star Game in New York - Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez.

But Kansas City will have a third representative at the game in the form of a veteran from Peculiar, MO, who served his country and battled brain cancer.

It's been three years since doctors told 27-year-old Clayton Zupon that he had less than a year to live. At the time he was in the Marines and trying to raise a young son as a single dad.

"My hair started falling out ... and then it finally hit me and it was rough. Don't get me wrong, it's a tough road," Zupon said.

Still the former high school baseball star refused to strike out.

"I've always been an extremely competitive person through sports growing up as a kid and even through the Marine Corps., so quitting is something I'm not willing to do," he said.

After high school, Zupon loved his country so much that instead of taking baseball scholarships, he chose the Marines. That's where doctors discovered the large tumor in his brain.

He said it was his love for family and baseball that got him through it.

"When I was going through treatment I would turn on the Royals games and just watch. It was like my own meditation," Zupon said.

Every year Major League Baseball celebrates one veteran hero from every Major League city and honors them at the All-Star Game in July. Thanks to fans voting online, Zupon received the award this year and will be heading to New York next week.

He hopes his time on the national stage will help send a message to others fighting cancer.

"Don't give up regardless of what the doctors tell you. Regardless of the odds just keep fighting and keep going because nothing is absolute," Zupon said.

Since his honorable discharge Zupon has taken up another hobby of talking to kids at area hospitals fighting cancer. He said it's another way he can serve his country.

Zupon will be taking his father on the All-Star trip. The two will participate in several All-Star Game-related events leading up to Tuesday's game.

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