Alex Smith Opens Up About Daughter’s Battle With Brain Cancer

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Alex Smith is dealing with a challenge tougher than anything he ever faced on the gridiron.

In May 2022, the former quarterback’s 7-year-old daughter Sloane was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, and she underwent a 10-hour surgery to remove the malignant tumor. Turns out, though, the doctors “missed a piece.”

Smith played 16 NFL seasons and almost lost his life to a gruesome leg injury the required 17 surgeries, four hospital stays over nine months and near amputation.

But in a recent interview with The New York Times, Smith said even that experience wasn’t enough to prepare him for his daughter’s battle.

“It’s different when it’s your little girl and you’re helpless with how terrifying that is,” he said.

Alex Smith Opens Up About Daughter's Battle With Brain Cancer

The 39-year-old originally shared Sloane’s diagnosis in June 2022. He revealed doctors found a large brain tumor after they rushed the young girl to the hospital with “stroke-like” symptoms.

“The 10-hour procedure was the most excruciating time of our lives. A clock has never moved so slowly. The incredible neurosurgeons (at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health) did a miraculous job and were able to remove 100% of the tumor,” Smith said at the time.

But the family later found out this wasn’t the case.

“We found out last fall that essentially that they had missed a piece, that there was a little piece in there left over,” Smith told The New York Times.

Alex Smith Opens Up About Daughter's Battle With Brain Cancer
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Alex Smith Keeps The Faith

Even after his terrifying leg injury, Smith miraculously went on to play football again — winning the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award in 2020.

And Alex’s wife Elizabeth says he sets a strong example for their three children.

“They know that you can overcome things, and you can fight through, and you can go back to living your life. Right?” she said. “They got to go through that journey with their dad. I think it’s probably hopeful for them.”

For now, though, the Smiths say they are living “scan to scan.”

“This is something that I don’t know where the end is,” Elizabeth said. “We don’t know because of the rarity of her tumor, when it will pop his head back, if it will pop its head back.”

Alex Smith officially retired from football in 2021. Now, in addition to maintaining his broadcasting career, the three-time Pro Bowler is dedicating his time both to his family and to helping other families affected by cancer.

Last month, Smith took part in the Pan-Mass Challenge — a bicycle race across Massachusetts. In doing so, he raised more than $47,000 (and counting) for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Alex and Elizabeth have committed to matching every dollar raised.

Written by Amber Harding

Amber is a Midwestern transplant living in Murfreesboro, TN. She spends most of her time taking pictures of her dog, explaining why real-life situations are exactly like "this one time on South Park," and being disappointed by the Tennessee Volunteers.

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