The video was created by Justin DeVellis
The Westhill Vikings have been one of the bright stories during the early portion of the football season, winning three of their first four games to start their bid for a possible state playoff berth.
Senior Peter Leandre has been in the middle of the Vikings’ success, competing as the team’s starting center, while overcoming a personal challenge: Playing football despite suffering from sickle-cell disease.
The disease causes the body to produce abnormal, sickle-shaped red blood cells, which don’t last as long as round cells. The sickle cells can get stuck in blood vessels, blocking blood flow and sometimes causing pain.
The condition does not have a cure, but treatments can relieve symptoms and have allowed Leandre to continue playing football for the Vikings.
Leandre has been nominated by his coaches and teammates to become a finalist for New York Giants’ Heart of a Giant Award. The Award is given annually to a tri-state football player who embodies what it means to have the Heart of a Giant.
The winner will be honored during a Giants’ home game, and his football program will receive a $5,000 grant from the Giants.