LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Nancy Harvey never imagined she'd own an indoor professional football team one day. After surviving cancer and getting a second chance at life, she made the bold decision to buy the East Texas Timber Rattlers.
Now she's using her experience to help give former football players a second chance at a career.
"These are guys that truly love football and they want to play and something kept them from taking that next level," said Harvey.
For some of the players, injuries kept them from continuing their careers. For others, leaving home and serving in the military was a bigger priority. Some just missed opportunities, but no matter what the reason was for ending their careers ending early, they are all grateful for the second chance.
"This team has given me a second chance to be an athlete and play football at the professional level because of Mrs. Nancy Harvey," said Rattlers running back Thomas Williams.
"At one point I thought it was all over for me, that I had to find me a new career, then God opened a new door for me and I was very happy. It was very warming to get a second chance," said Rattlers defensive tackle Ben Pope.
To be able to gift the men that have become sons to her a second chance at something they love, makes life worth living for Harvey.
It's really something I wanted to do as a cancer patient to not only give these guys, but other cancer survivors that message, that your life isn't over, you know, you can continue to do what you love," Harvey said.
The players are inspired by Harvey's strength and generosity, and want to do everything within their power to win for her.
"Once you catch cancer, it's real easy to get down and think that's the end," said Rattlers linebacker Larry Forney. "Mrs. Nancy's a fighter, and I'm a fighter and I feel like when I get out there with her, we can't lose."