'It's just been a year from hell': Brewers' Rowdy Tellez consoles boys who lost mom, grandparents to cancer

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It would be an understatement to say 2022 has been a challenge for Eric Michaelis and his two young boys, 8-year-old Clayton and 6-year-old Miles.

"It's just been a year from hell, really," said Eric Michaelis.

In April, the family lost Eric's wife and the boys' mom, Liz, after a courageous battle with lung cancer. Soon after, cancer also took the boys' two grandparents. They then lost the family dog in July.

"Kids are resilient," Eric said. "Much more so than adults."

Still, losing a parent can be tough for anyone, especially a young child. On Saturday, standing on the field at American Family Field, getting ready to yell "play ball" and start the game, Miles' emotions took over. As he stood there on the field, tears in his eyes, a special visitor stopped by.

"Rowdy came over and he could see that my son was crying," Michaelis said. "He stopped, he asked him what was wrong and Miles repeated to him he missed his mom."

Michaelis posted the video to Twitter where it has received over 30,000 views in just three days. In the video, Tellez can be heard telling the young boy that he also lost his mom, Lori, to cancer. He offers a hug and a ball, but the kindness didn't stop there.

"He ran off the field, went in the dugout, grabbed a couple bats and signed them for my kids, 'She'll always be with you,'" Michaelis recalled. "It was really touching."

Ahead of the Brewers game in St. Louis, Tellez shared his thoughts regarding the interaction with the boys with CBS 58.

"It was a special moment. The kids were emotional," Tellez said. "I think that at a young age, that's really tough to lose a parent, let alone your mom. It never gets easier. It hasn't for me, but it's something you learn to live with. I just want to make sure those kids know there's other people in the world that go through the same things that they do and there's always people that are going to have their back."

Michaelis says he is grateful to Tellez, the Brewers, and the community for all of the support he and his boys have received. He also hopes the story of his wife will bring awareness to pain lung cancer can cause families all over the country.

"Lung cancer is the number one killer of men and women in the United States," Michaelis said. "I want to be part of the group that helps end the stigma that lung cancer is only for people that smoke. That's not the case. Liz was a non-smoker. Anybody with lungs can get lung cancer."

A GoFundMe for the family is set up here.

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