The motto for the Michigan State football team this past season was to “Keep Chopping.” For East Lansing native Steven Divietri it was a similar mindset with his battle with cancer. “It keeps me going and keeps me level headed,” said Divietri
“When I first met Mel Tucker, he looked at me and did the chop sign,” said Divietri. After a while of talking, Tucker, the MSU head football coach, invited Steven to a Spartans practice.
Divietri, father of two, was just recently diagnosed with aplastic anemia and has been getting blood transmissions regularly. “I have six months to live if I get tired of treatment,” said Divietri, who has been a Michigan State fan for life.
With some convincing from family and friends, Divietri decided to share his story on social media and it snowballed. Thousands of people, including many of the coaches and athletes at Michigan State, wanted to follow Divietri and learn about his story.
Tucker is one of many coaches at Michigan State who have learned about the battling Spartan fan’s heartening story. The winningest coach in Michigan State men’s tennis history, Gene Orlando, has become extremely close with Divietri over the past year. “Coach Orlando calls me twice a week to check in on me and to make sure that I’m doing OK,” said Divietri.
Thousands of people on social media and in the East Lansing community have been inspired and impacted by Divietri and his story including Mike Sterner and Todd Smith.
“Steven has taught me more about my life in the past year than I’ve ever taught myself,” said Smith, local operation supervisor for water production. Smith got to know Divietri after the Izzo Legacy Walk and was inspired by his story.
For 27-year-old medical resident Mike Sterner, Divietri has not only been an inspiration, but a friend. “This is somebody who embodies what “Spartan’s Will” is all about,” said Sterner. “He’s fighting everyday in ways we can’t comprehend.”
Sterner met Divietri on Facebook and the two have gone to multiple sporting events together at Michigan State. “I feel proud of knowing and gaining perspective on life from Steven, and I’ll cherish that for the rest of my life,” said Sterner.
“My son said to me the other day, I don’t want you to die dad,” said Divietri, “I’m going to fight as long as I can and do the best that I can.” Divietri is the father to 24-year-old Katelyn and 20-year-old Anthony. Steven’s goal is to take Anthony to the Michigan vs MSU football game this upcoming season for Anthony’s 21st birthday.
Divietri continues to battle and even when he isn’t feeling up to attending the games, he’s always making his presence felt on social media.