BALDWIN, Pa. - The story of Baldwin High School senior Luke Smorey was absolutely worthy of being named one of the top 100 most inspirational athletes in the nation.
But it’s what Luke did after he was nominated that truly showed what kind of person he is.
The football and track and field star’s toughest competition came as he was fighting off a flesh-eating bacteria that had him in the hospital for days.
“It definitely put my life into perspective and made me realize that you need to live every day to the fullest,” Smorey said.
Surviving the incident got him nominated for a national inspirational athlete award, and he even made it to the top 100. But then Luke read the bio of another student that truly inspired him.
“It was Dominique Cooks. He has terminal brain tumor and I thought that is something I can’t compete against,” Smorey said.
Luke said it was at that moment that he decided to compete for Dominique, who is from the Seattle area.
“He is just much more inspirational than I feel I am. So I thought there is no way I could see myself competing against him,” Smorey said.
In a selfless, kindhearted act, Smorey asked his school to vote for Dominique instead of himself.
“I just think it’s the humble thing to do. I feel it’s better for him to win this award than myself,” Smorey said.
Smorey said his school and classmates are supporting his decision.
“You can’t coach it. You can’t teach it. It just shows how he has been brought up by his parents and what type of student athlete he is. He’s very humble,” Athletic Director Vincent Sortino said.
Smorey said he doesn’t think his decision is anything out of the ordinary.
“I feel like it’s nothing crazy. It should be more like everyday things,” Smorey said. “Thankfully, I only have 80 votes right now and he has, like, 45,000. So I think it worked.”
For more information on the contest, click here.
(Channel 11 learned after airing/posting this story that other students across the nation are stepping up to help Dominique.)