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Suns give fan battling cancer special experience ahead of season opener

(Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Before things tipped off at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Wednesday night, the Phoenix Suns made it a point to give one fan an experience he won’t soon forget.

Last Thursday, point guard Ricky Rubio and the Suns surprised Cancer Support Community Arizona, an organization that empowers those fighting cancer, with a $50,000 grant as part of the team’s “Rise Together Day.”

In response to the good deed, 18-year-old Zackery Newtz, who’s currently fighting cancer, reached out to the organization and the point guard on social media thanking the team.

Instead of just hitting the “like” button, the Suns took another route, inviting the young fan to the arena for an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience.

But the Suns didn’t stop there.

Surprising Newtz was none other than Rubio, who gave the teen a jersey with a personal “message of solidarity to stay strong and keep fighting.”

For Rubio, the gesture hits close to home, as he watched his grandmother, grandfather, mother and former head coach Flip Saunders pass away due to cancer.

All told, the Suns and Phoenix Suns Charities are investing $10 million to non-profits and city programs in Phoenix before the end of 2019, the team said in a press release.

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