Hialeah Senior High football player beats disease, inspires others

HIALEAH, Fla. – High School Junior Manny Reyes III has big dreams.

“To become an NFL football player,” he says.

But his passions to play were almost sidelined in the fall of 2018, when he started suffering from severe gastrointestinal problems.

“It wouldn’t go away. I could take like everything, like everybody would say, ‘Oh take this, that’ but it would never go away,” he said

Doctors at Joe DiMaggio Children’s hospital ultimately diagnosed him with Crohn's Disease, a chronic inflammation condition that affects the lining of the digestive tract and can sometimes cause life-threatening complications.

Manny developed several potentially cancerous growths in his colon and love over 30 pounds, but he never lost hope.

“I was thinking it was another obstacle for me to get where I want. It’s harder for me to gain weight, it’s harder for me to get to the goals that I want to get to but everything’s possible,” he said.

Daily doses of medication have helped put the disease in remission and in March Hialeah High Athletic Director Marc Bergman accepted Manny as the team quarterback.

Although the Coronavirus put his formal training on hold, he and his dad have developed their own sessions, keeping Manny’s dream alive while inspiring others.

“Being the QB you’re on top you’re controlling the team you have to show everybody that when you’re down the team is down, when you’re up the team is up. You’re the base of everybody, you’re the captain of the team on the field,” the young Reyes said.

“He’s taken it up on himself you know it’s something he has and he wants to show the world don’t give up no matter what obstacles are facing you,” his father, Manny Jr., added.

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