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Monday, December 10, 2018
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Courtesy Lisa Skinner(ATLANTA) -- One Georgia son is trying to fulfill his father's dying wish to go to the big game.

Steven Skinner, a loving father of four children and husband to his wife of 32 years, is battling for his life after being diagnosed with glioblastoma, an incurable type of brain cancer.

The 56-year old Navy veteran, who lives with his wife and son in Atlanta, has only months to live, according to his wife, Lisa.

His son, Andrew Skinner, 23, has started a campaign to raise money to help his father check one last wish off his bucket list, attending the upcoming 2019 Super Bowl.

His GoFundMe campaign, "The Commander's Final Send-off," was also created to raise awareness for the incredible life Steven has lived.

Since Andrew launched the campaign on Dec. 2, it has surpassed the halfway point of its $30,000 goal.

"My dad's been wanting to go to the Super Bowl for the longest time. He'll have times where he'll ask if I want to go and say, 'Hey if I'm able to get tickets for this Super Bowl do you want to go with me?' At least for the last good while, he's been saying that to me," Andrew told "Good Morning America."

Andrew has been by his father's side throughout the battle with cancer, leaving school at Xavier University to help his mother care for Steven. The couple also have a 'honorary son,' Daiyaan, who lives with them and helps care for Steven as well.

"Since he only has a few more months -- I know he has other stuff on his bucket list that he wasn't able to do -- but that's the one thing I know for a fact that he's been looking forward to and wanting to do his whole life," Andrew said.

With the upcoming Super Bowl being held in Atlanta, it would be easier for Steven to travel to and from the stadium.

"I figured I would at least see if I could do anything to try to help him get to the Super Bowl," Andrew shared. "I don't know if it's actually going to be possible or not, but I feel better at least trying and saying at least I tried than not doing anything."

Steven Skinner has been an avid sports fan his entire life. Originally from Monmouth, Illinois, he was an excellent athlete growing up, Andrew said. All-state basketball, baseball and quarterback of his high school football team are just a few of Steven Skinner's early achievements.

His athletic prowess and strong academics helped him advance to the United States Naval Academy. While he was at the Academy, he met the woman who would later become his wife, Lisa.

Skinner was a sophomore, and she was a freshman at nearby Immaculata College. They dated throughout the rest of their college years and got married at the Naval Academy about a year after she graduated.

The pair then headed to Long Beach, California, where Skinner was stationed while working in the Navy. He was deployed to the Persian Gulf for 10 months to work as a weapons officer during the second year of their marriage.

He served aboard the USS Rueben James FFG-57 in 1985. Four years later he went into the reserves, and through the reserves he reached the rank of commander.

Skinner later decided to enter civilian life to be with his family. He worked at several different companies throughout his distinguished business career, eventually becoming senior vice president of products & resources at a consulting firm, Cognizant Technology Solutions.

He was even named one of Consulting Magazine's Top 25 Consultants in 2015.

But his career and life changed forever in December 2017, while he was traveling in New York for business.

"Steven had been on a business trip for a day and was coming home,” Lisa Skinner said. She said he called her from the Delta Sky Lounge and said he was feeling funny. "About a half hour later or so I got a call from the Port Authority on his phone that said that they were taking him to the hospital. They thought he had a mild stroke."

"Once he was at the hospital, they saw a brain tumor," she continued. "It was too late for me to fly out, so I flew out the next morning to New York. Within an hour I signed everything and he went into surgery."

When Steven's 18-year daughter, Sarah, heard her Dad had gotten sick in New York, she wasn't fully aware of his condition.

"I didn't think anything of it, like I thought it was pretty serious, but I thought he was going to be OK," she said. "Maybe it was something he could get over."

Then she heard the news from her mother that it was a tumor. "She didn't say anything about it being cancerous or anything. She said it was just a tumor that could be completely benign or fine."

"I held onto that," she added.

Skinner spent three weeks in New York at Long Island's North Shore University Hospital, where he underwent multiple life-saving surgeries.

"They did 2 brain surgeries, one day after another — not to remove the tumor — but to relieve the brain pressure. Saved his life frankly," Lisa shared. "The surgeon here at Emory said that it was so unusual and most doctors wouldn't have been skilled enough to do it."

During one of the surgeries, the medical team removed part of his skull and placed it in his abdominal area, "for safekeeping," according to Mrs. Skinner. Her husband was able to return to Atlanta, wearing a helmet to protect his skull.

Skinner's company, Cognizant, got him a Learjet because the couple were having problems with their insurance when attempting to secure a flight. Lisa said the CEO just wanted to get her husband home.

Later that month, Sarah found out the gravity of the situation.

"Me and my mom were driving to pick up some food for Christmas and we were talking about my dad. I finally just asked her 'Did they figure out if it was cancer or not?' And she told me that the tumor was cancerous," Sarah said.

"She told me it was glioblastoma and that's like all she told me. I didn't want to hear any more about it. That's all I asked her," she added.

In April, surgeons at Emory repaired Skinner's skull, removing the skull piece and using a prosthetic piece of bone to make sure there was a 100 percent seal.

"I didn't even know they could do things like that," Lisa said.

Skinner went through chemotherapy and radiation for the glioblastoma, completing 2 rounds of radiation and chemotherapy pills up until recently.

"This last hospital stay they found out that the tumor has grown another branch of arms, so they did radiation on that," Lisa said.

Her husband is now in the in-home hospice stage.

"We're hoping to keep him home at least through the holidays, if not longer, but we've learned this year to just do short-term goals," she said. "That's our goal — trying to get everybody under the same roof for the holidays, and then we'll reassess in January when the other two go back to school."

"In the back of my head, I knew the odds weren't good," Sarah said. "I try not to think about it. It wasn't until my family came up to visit me in Annapolis for Thanksgiving, when my mom told me that my dad only had a couple months to live."

Andrew's campaign to bring his father and extra family members to the Super Bowl stems from his desire to share what kind of person his father is with the world.

"Everything he's been through, from the military to working hard his whole life, if I can just spread awareness on how great of a life he's had — because I feel like not enough people know how great of a person he is and all the great things he's done in his lifetime."

"I feel like he deserves it more than anyone I know," he added.

"He's literally done so much for my family. He's done so much for others. He has one of the biggest hearts I know. That's why we wanted to do something that he wouldn't forget and that he would really love," Sarah added about her father. "He's always been constantly working and constantly helping us."

Their mother shares the sentiment.

"He was somebody who was gone a lot, in a lot of ways, between the military and with his career, but when you came one-on-one with him -- you realize that he was a person that when he was there, he really just genuinely wanted to help you."

"I think that's why there's so many people that are coming out of the woodwork and sending us stories," she added.

Lisa said classmates of Sarah's from her high school, friends of Steven's from the Naval Academy and friends from his childhood are among those that have reached out to offer support.

"He's even had a childhood friend that flew out -- that he hadn't seen in years -- just to take us to lunch, he and his wife. Because he had told his kids how much over the years about Steven Skinner, the big guy in high school he played basketball with, and how much he meant to his growing up."

Despite the hardships the Skinner family has experienced since December 2017, Lisa believes some good has come from it.

"This year's been very hard for our family. It's brought a lot of changes and helped us realize what is so important," she said.

"I wondered for a while, why this year? Why are we having to go through this year when we're ending the way we are? But I told the kids that Steven is getting his wish — He's seeing that Andrew is figuring out the type of man that he is and what is important to him — that Andrew is rising above some of the challenges that he had recently to help his dad."

One of the things that Skinner said about Andrew when he realized the magnitude of his illness was that he wanted to live long enough for Andrew to realize the type of man he is, Lisa says.

Along with Skinner, Lisa doesn't take Andrew's incredible gesture of putting his life on hold for his father for granted.

"For Andrew to be home and help take care of Steven — he's been such a very loving son."

"My brother-in law-says that Andrew is determined to keep his father's dignity, so he's been doing things for his father that not only him but most kids don't even imagine," she added.

Skinner has also had the opportunity to see his son, Joey, 20, managing successfully in college, after struggling with auditory processing disorder, dyslexia and sensory problems throughout his life.

"To see Joey — I call 'adulting,'" she shared. "The child that we struggled with — with learning disabilities and other issues — to see him living on his own apartment off-campus, going to school and taking care of himself, and cooking. He's doing a fantastic job."

Her husband has also gotten to see more of his daughter Sarah's basketball than he's ever been able to in his life.

"He doesn't like it when we say she's following in his footsteps -- he wants her to make her own path -- but I know it warms his heart to know that she's chosen the Naval Academy and she's excelling," Lisa said.

The family could never have imagined these past months of indescribable pain, but Lisa is finding the silver lining.

"It's been a gift in a lot of ways, this year," she said. "It's not been what we hoped for when we started this and were hoping to get Steven well — hoping that he could get off the golf course like he loves and spend some more time traveling."

But the family has grown through the experience. "Just talking and spending time with the kids, that's been great," Lisa said.

The Navy man has also had to meet the fact that he's had a tremendous impact on the lives he touched.

"I think he's realizing -- well he does know now -- how much people just like him," she said.

She's also learned something important about life through Steven's battle.

"It's funny how we're all so focused on accomplishments. He grew up being the jock and the academic ... he's good at business, he was good at sports, but I think what he's realizing and he worried about was — was he a good person? There's a difference," Lisa said.

"The amount of money you make, the awards you get, the championships you win, doesn't necessarily tell you whether or not you're a good person. And to have this year for other people to take the time to do that and to tell him what's been most important to them and how he's impacted their lives, I think that's been a real gift for everybody," she added.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Stacy Revere/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- Sports Illustrated announced its selection for 2018 Sportsperson of the Year, and it's not a person at all -- it's an entire team. The sports publication named the Golden State Warriors as this year's top "Sportsperson."

"Three titles in four years, and now another: 2018 [Sports Illustrated] #Sportsperson of the Year recipients. Congratulations, [Warriors]!" read a tweet sent from the Sports Illustrated Twitter account Monday morning.

Though multiple individuals, including Lebron James, made the list of prospective selections, the magazine's editor-in-chief said the Warriors' collective influence on their sport and culture in the last five years could not be overlooked, according to ABC News television affiliate KGO-TV.

"This year's award focused on the power of sports to amaze, surprise and inspire," the magazine stated. "This year, the Warriors exhibited those attributes on and off the court."

In 64 years, the Warriors is the fourth team ever to win the Sportsperson of the Year title and the first team to do so since the 2004 Boston Red Sox, according to Sports Illustrated.

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Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly trying to add Phoenix Suns small forward Trevor Ariza to their roster.

Citing league sources, ESPN reports both teams are in talks and are looking to involve a third team that would take Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as part of a larger deal.

In return for trading Ariza, the Suns want a guard and a draft asset, league sources told ESPN.

While the sources say Los Angeles and Phoenix have made progress in third-team scenarios, they are not close to any agreement and are continuing to have trade discussions throughout the league.

Should an agreement be finalized, no moves can be officially made until Saturday, when Ariza, 33, becomes eligible for trading.

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ABC/Image Group LA(NEW YORK) -- Olympic gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman said she has a new definition of strength after becoming an advocate over the last year for survivors of sexual abuse.

"When I was training, strength to me was about being mentally strong ... and you obviously have to be very physically strong as well," Raisman said. "I also think being strong is also having the courage to let yourself be tired and admit to yourself that you might need to take a break or that it's OK to not be OK."

She went on: "As an athlete where you're kind of trained to be very serious and you don't want to show the judges that you're nervous or that you didn’t have a good warm up, you just want to have that good poker face on all the time. That was sort of new for me, learning, just to say, 'I'm so exhausted and I have to take care of myself today.'"

Raisman, 24, spoke about her experience Wednesday before thousands of women at the annual Massachusetts Conference for Women, the largest women's conference in the United States.

The Massachusetts native won multiple gold medals competing in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, but most of her remarks at the conference focused on the role she's stepped into over the past year as an advocate for sexual abuse survivors like herself.

Raisman was one of the dozens of gymnasts who spoke out about the rampant sexual abuse by disgraced doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced in January to up to 175 years in prison.

Just before the sentencing, Raisman faced Nassar in a Michigan courtroom and told him, in a speech that went viral, "The tables have turned, Larry. We are here, we have our voices, and we are not going anywhere."

Since that day, Raisman has been on a mission to remove the silence that has surrounded sexual abuse victims.

She has delivered countless speeches, met with other survivors, accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2018 ESPYs with 140 other survivors and launched a campaign, Flip the Switch, for which she personally signs the certificates of people who complete the campaign's online courses on how to spot signs of sexual abuse.

The advocacy work has not come easy for Raisman, who started in gymnastics at age 2.

"In the last year, just from speaking up, there were plenty of times when I was just so exhausted I didn't have the energy to work out, and I would feel like I'd just run miles and miles and even just walking up the stairs was exhausting for me," she said. "I would say that even just speaking up, I felt like I had just done this crazy hard workout because it took so much from me."

Raisman, who also described getting headaches after giving speeches, said she's learned to meditate daily, still sees a therapist and recently took up gardening to help her relax.

"I understand that talking about sexual abuse is uncomfortable. I wish I could talk about gardening up here all the time," she said. "It's very hard for me."

"It's very, very confusing and very scary, and sometimes it can get worse before it gets better," Raisman said of speaking out about sexual abuse.

Taking on USA Gymnastics

Raisman has continued to speak out about abuse in gymnastics since Nassar's sentencing. She called for an independent investigation of the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics by federal authorities, and then, in March, filed a lawsuit against USOC and USA Gymnastics.

Raisman also used her voice to call for the ouster of Mary Bono as interim president of USA Gymnastics because of Bono's association with a law firm that advised USA Gymnastics during the Nassar scandal. Bono resigned as interim president and CEO of USA Gymnastics in October after four days, according to ESPN.

Earlier this week, USA gymnastics filed for bankruptcy in the wake of lawsuits over the serial sexual abuse perpetrated by Nassar.

"It was very frustrating and it still is so frustrating that they, that USA Gymnastics, still treats me and my teammates like we are adversaries when we're saying that we were abused while we were training," Raisman said Wednesday. "It's crazy to me that we live in a world where so often survivors are treated like adversaries when they're brave enough to tell their stories."

Raisman also described what prompted her to speak out publicly.

"I was very nervous and very scared," she said, "but I knew that I couldn't sit back and watch organizations continue to sweep it under the rug and act like nothing was happening."

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Sunday’s sports events:

New Orleans 116, Detroit 108
Milwaukee 104, Toronto 99
San Antonio 110, Utah 97
Charlotte 119, NY Knicks 107

Vancouver 6, St. Louis 1
Winnipeg 7, Philadelphia 1
OT Boston 2, Ottawa 1
Montreal 3, Chicago 2
SO Anaheim 6, New Jersey 5
Edmonton 1, Calgary 0
Vegas 4, Dallas 2

Cleveland 26, Carolina 20
New Orleans 28, Tampa Bay 14
NY Giants 40, Washington 16
Indianapolis 24, Houston 21
OT Kansas City 27, Baltimore 24
Green Bay 34, Atlanta 20
NY Jets 27, Buffalo 23
Miami 34, New England 33
San Francisco 20, Denver 14
L.A. Chargers 26, Cincinnati 21
Detroit 17, Arizona 3
OT Dallas 29, Philadelphia 23
Oakland 24, Pittsburgh 21
Chicago 15, L.A. Rams 6

(7) Tennessee 76, (1) Gonzaga 73
(4) Virginia 57, VCU 49
(6) Nevada 74, Grand Canyon 66
(15) Virginia Tech 81, SC State 44

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Saturday’s sports events:

Dallas 107, Houston 104
Indiana 107, Sacramento 97
Atlanta 106, Denver 98
Brooklyn 112, N.Y. Knicks 104
Cleveland 116, Washington 101
Boston 133, Chicago 77
L.A. Lakers 111, Memphis 88
Portland 113, Minnesota 105
Miami 121, L.A. Clippers 98

Philadelphia 6, Buffalo 2
L.A. Kings 5, Vegas 1
N.Y. Islanders 3, Detroit 2
Tampa Bay 7, Colorado 1
Ottawa 2, Pittsburgh 1
N.Y. Rangers 5, Florida 4
Washington 4, Columbus 0
Boston 6, Toronto 3
San Jose 5, Arizona 3
Calgary 5, Nashville 2

(22) Army 17, Navy 10

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Photo by Eric Lars Bakke / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, ahead of what could be the last football game of his career.

Murray accounted for 51 touchdowns this season, while passing for 4,053 yards and rushing for 892 more. He beat out Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins for the award.

Murray still has one more year of college eligibility, and would be a top NFL draft pick, but has said he will give up football to focus on a career in Major League Baseball. He was drafted ninth overall this past summer by the Oakland Athletics.

"This is crazy," the 21-year-old said Saturday night. "This is an honor. Something that I'll never forget, something that I'll always cherish for the rest of my life."

He becomes the second consecutive Sooners quarterback to win the award, following Baker Mayfield last season. It is also the seventh Heisman won by an Oklahoma player -- tied for the most of any program with Ohio State and Notre Dame.

Murray and the Sooners will take on Tagovailoa and the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff later this month.  

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Photo by Donald Page / ESPN Images(MORGANTOWN, W. Va.) -- West Virginia University quarterback Will Grier will skip his team's game in the Camping World Bowl as he prepares for the upcoming NFL Draft.

Grier announced that decision on Saturday, thanking his coaches, teammates and fans for their support. He tallied nearly 4,000 yards and 37 passing touchdowns for the Mountaineers. The team went 8-3, finishing in third place in the Big 12 Conference.

"While we did not win every time we took the field, and I shoulder that responsibility," Grier said in a statement, "I can assure you that we tried."

The senior began his career at the University of Florida, where he was suspended for a season for violating the NCAA's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He spent his final two seasons at West Virginia.

Grier is the fifth ranked quarterback on ESPN's Mel Kiper's projected draft board. He could be selected in the first or second round of April's draft.

"Will and I spoke at length about the bowl game," West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said in a statement. "And I am fully supportive of his decision to begin preparing for the NFL Draft."

"While we will miss him in Orlando, Will's commitment and service to WVU Football over the last three years will be talked about for many years to come."

Grier is the second key player on the Mountaineers to announce he will not play in the bowl game, after offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste made his announcement on Friday.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores for Wednesday's sports events:

Philadelphia 117-111 Detroit
Charlotte 113-107 Denver
Indiana 112-90 Orlando
Sacramento 129-110 Cleveland
Brooklyn 106-105 Toronto (Overtime)
Chicago 114-112 Oklahoma City
Memphis 107-103 New Orleans
San Antonio 133-120 L.A. Lakers
Miami 115-98 Phoenix
Golden State 105-95 Milwaukee

St. Louis 1-0 Winnipeg
Dallas 3-2 San Jose
Edmonton 7-2 Minnesota
Carolina 4-1 Anaheim

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Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(ATLANTA) -- Just over a week after Georgia Tech head football coach Paul Johnson announced he would retire from that job at the end of the season, the Yellow Jackets have named Temple University's Geoff Collins their next head coach.

Collins led Temple to a 15-10 record and two bowl appearances in his two-year tenure. No coach in Temple history won as many games in his first two seasons at the school.

Collins is from the Atlanta area, and has had two stints on the Georgia Tech coaching staff. Prior to his time at Temple, he also served as a defensive coordinator at the University of Florida, Mississippi State University, Florida International University and Western Carolina University.

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