CINCINNATI - Support is growing among Cincinnati's professional athletes for a local 6-year-old boy terminally ill with Stage 4 cancer determined to spend his final days celebrating life's joys.
Walter "Superbubz" Herbert took to the field at Nippert Stadium Saturday as the honorary team captain for FC Cincinnati before their game against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
"Superbubz! Superbubz!" the crowd chanted and cheered.
The FC Cincinnati game capped off a big week for Superbubz. He served as honorary team captain for the Cincinnati Reds and won the heart of first baseman Joey Votto.
Votto stopped after scoring a home run to high-five Superbubz.
He gave the child his bat and went to get another jersey, taking the one he was wearing off his back and handing to the boy.
Superbubz also led the Colerain High School football team onto the field at their game Friday night against St. Xavier High School.
Next week, Superbubz and his family will meet the Cincinnati Bengals. The team invited them to their practice Friday morning ahead of their season opener Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium.
The Bengals also are donating a football autographed by A.J. Green, gloves autographed by Jeremy Hill and cleats autographed by Vontaze Burfict for a Sept. 16 benefit for the Herbert family at Public House in Cheviot.
Superbubz is keeping his spirits up with the love and support of his parents, Emily and Wally Herbert, and their devoted circle of family and friends.
His family is trying to give him the opportunity to experience as many fun events as they before he succumbs to neuroblastoma, one of the more common forms of childhood cancer.
They want to enjoy their time together at home and out and about town instead of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Superbubz would undergo intensive treatments that might prolong his life a bit, but make him so sick he would be bed-ridden.
The Herberts are grateful for the outpouring of support.
Superbubz became sick without warning when he was just 4 years old.
His mother, Emily Herbert, said he was fine one day and then developed a sudden limp.
Concerned he may have inadvertently hurt his foot or leg, she took him to the doctor. That led to a battery of tests resulting in his stunning cancer diagnosis a few days later.
Now, the Herberts hope to raise awareness for pediatric cancer similar to the "Think Pink" campaign for breast cancer. They are wearing gold ribbons pinned to their clothes.
"We think it would be amazing for (NFL) nfootball players to wear gold in September for pediatric cancer, like they do in October for breast cancer," Emily Herbert said. "Knowing our son was able to raise awareness for pediatric cancer would be a dream come true for us.
"We would love for that to become an annual thing These kids don't deserve this, and we need a cure."
"Think back. Way back and imagine being 6," his father wrote in a Facebook post this week.
"Now think of spending most of 2 years in a hospital bed being fed medicines that make you sick bloated pain. This is why we need to gold for September."