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Young Seahawks fan proves setbacks can be overcome

As the Seahawks enter a new season, one of the team's young fans is entering a new phase in his recovery from Leukemia.

SEATTLE — While the outcome of the Seahawks' season opener wasn’t what they hoped for, one young fan is living proof that no matter the setback, anything is possible. 

August Johansson, 13, is one of the Seahawks' biggest fans, but he's been through a lot lately. In 2021, he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, which catapulted him on a years-long hospital journey of painful chemotherapy, treatments and bone marrow transplants.

But as the Seahawks fought to defy expectations, August did too.

Last October, he got a knock on the door of his hospital room.

“All of a sudden, I just hear a knock on my door on like, it's probably like a nurse or something," said August.

In a video provided by the Seahawks and digital creator JT Laybourne, you can hear August shouting "Blitz! Blitz” and jumping up to hug him. After all, it’s not every day you get to meet your favorite team’s mascot. 

“Oh my god… this is so awesome," August can be heard saying in the video.

But it gets better: "He shows me this video of DK Metcalf, my favorite football player," said August.

“What’s up Gus," said Metcalf in the electronic video message. "This is DK Metcalf here. I just want to say thank you for all the love and support that you’ve given me. Just keep fighting, keep believing, and keep being an inspiration to people like me. And go Hawks. Last thing: got a little present for ya, that my friend Blitz is gonna give to you.”

Blitz handed August a Seahawks jersey signed by Metcalf.

"Oh my gosh," said August, in tears of joy.

August told KING 5, “He's like, 'We're also going to take you to a Seahawks game.'"

That was last October. The weeks to come would be painful for August.

"He got his bone marrow transplant in December," said his mother, Rashelle Johansson.

Amid what felt like an endless series of injections, pain, and fevers, Johansson was not sure if August would ever make it to that Seahawks game he was promised.

"Where we were at that moment, it was not looking good at all," she said.

But like the Seahawks did throughout the 2022 season, August fought back.

"The tests all came back that his body was ready," said Johansson. "We thought it was miraculous, just like, 'You, what?! You got to be kidding."

By January, the Seahawks made it to the playoffs. In that same month, August got the green light from doctors to come home.

"That was helpful for me to make it-- to encourage me to keep fighting," said August, of the Seahawks making the postseason. 

His mother added, "There's not a lot of things to look forward to when you're in the hospital."

As the Seahawks kicked off a new season Sunday, August is entering a new season of his own. 

"I would not be expecting go to school this soon. Like this is huge," said August.

He returned to the classroom this week after 831 days away from school.

This time, he returned as an eighth grader; one that now gets to share this news with his school friends: "I'm going to a Seahawks game October 22," he said.

August will be a guest of honor at that game in Seattle.

"I'm gonna flip the coin at the 50-yard line," he said, adding that he feels lucky to be part of the exclusive group of people who are considered for that. "I'm like, so excited.” 

Despite the team's loss this weekend, he hopes they know that-- like him-- they can always bounce back. 

"I'm doing really good," said August.

“It's just onward and upward from this point," said his mother.

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