By Jessica Robinson
Meet Seb Alweyn. A bright teenager, a little shy. He loves his family, his friends, his community and his basketball, however at just 17 years old he has faced more adversity than some people would experience in a lifetime.
In 2020, the Alweyn family sadly lost father and husband, Dudley to his long battle with bowel cancer, spanning 13 years.
In July 2021, the course of Seb’s life changed once again. As he prepared to head back to school and tackle the second half of year 11, he was instead diagnosed with B Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a cancer diagnosis that came after six months of experiencing a locked knee and soreness.
Under the care of Monash Children’s Cancer Centre, the swelling in his knee had quickly subsided, his pain was relieved, and Seb started the chemotherapy process, although side effects and rejection to the chemotherapy has challenged his progress.
As Covid-19 shut down majority of Victoria throughout 2021, Seb became further isolated from his friends and family. As restrictions eased, Seb’s health condition kept him from seeing other people, and shooting hoops.
What kept him going? Basketball.
His close friends re-worked his mum’s home office into a basketball haven, decked out with memorabilia, merchandise, a mural of his favourite player Kyrie Irving and a TV that rarely changed from the NBA. Watching his other favourite player, Patty Mills and the Brooklyn Nets go deep into the NBA season and the Boomers win a historical bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics kept his spirits high.
And that’s when we came across Seb. After his school reached out to us to share Seb’s story in October last year, we wanted to wrap our arms around a member of our basketball family.
After video messages of support were sent from our Rose Gold Boomers and the Hall of Fame Legend himself, Andrew Gaze in the lead up to Christmas last year, we were so glad to hear that Seb had re-joined his class earlier this year and was even well enough to attend a basketball game.
Last Friday night, we had the opportunity to meet Seb in person, as he, his mum Di and his close friends all joined us at John Cain Arena to watch the Boomers take on Japan, and meet some of his favourite players, including Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles, Thon Maker and Jack White.
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Speaking to his character, Seb presented to his local council a proposal to build two under-cover basketball courts for the community to use all year round. His mum, Di telling BA Media that ‘Seb could’ve gone on a holiday but nope, he said “I have everything I need but we need this for our community”’.
“He has loved basketball since he was young and hopes to be back out playing with his mates once again.”
He is now three months in to an 18-month maintenance phase, the last of the phases. We’ll continue to check in with Seb and we can’t wait to see him back on the court soon.