Hays cancer survivor ready to watch Chiefs, MVP quarterback she inspired
HAYS, Kan. (KWCH) - Sophia Linenberger is a name you might remember. She’s a cancer survivor who made an impact on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Three years ago, Mahomes heard Linenberger’s story after meeting her mother at a gala for his charity. Ahead of his first Super Bowl championship, Mahomes began wearing a yellow wristband Linenberger gave him. The message on that bracelet simply says “Sophia Strong.” Mahomes still wears the bracelet every game.
Ahead of Kansas City’s third Super Bowl in four years, 12 News caught up with Linenberger as she prepares to cheer on her favorite team and shares encouraging news. Linenberger has battled with Ewing Sarcoma since 2019. She received lifechanging news to start 2023.
‘I just found out two weeks ago that I am officially a year and four months cancer-free now,” she said.
With this new freedom, Linenberger is attending her second semester at Fort Hays State University.
“This is my first time being back at school not wearing masks or going through treatment, and I’m just really excited to be back,” she said.
Linenberger said a significant part of what kept her going during chemotherapy sessions was the now famous wristband that needs only two words to inspire, “Sophia Strong.” Linenbeger said she gives wristbands as a way to encourage others to stay strong.
This includes Mahomes who received his wristband during the discussion with Linenberger’s mother at the annual 15 and Mahomies Gala. He’s worn the wristband for every game since, including two Super Bowl appearances.
“I’m so excited to see my wristband go to the Super Bowl for the third time, and I’m so grateful to Patrick for wearing it and continuing to wear it and [supporting] me,” Linenberger said.
Though cancer-free, she said some days are difficult. On these days, seeing the Chiefs quarterback wear the wristband makes a difference.
“When I’m having that hard day, it’s a reminder when I see the wristband on Patrick’s arm, just to get through whatever I’m going through. Because I made it so far already, and I’m glad that he’s always there and gives me a reminder,” Linenberger said.
She said she hopes Mahomes can use that motivation to go as far as he can go.
“I know he’s going to win on Sunday because he ahs the determination I had. I had the determination to beat my cancer and I know he has the determination to win the Super Bowl,” Linenberger said.
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