A few weeks ago, a representative from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital asked Owen Church what his favorite football team was.

Church, a 13-year-old seventh-grader from Jonesboro, Ark., answered “the Seattle Seahawks.’’

And then, he forgot about the conversation.

“I didn’t think anything of it,’’ Church said.

NFL Draft Live: Follow along with us for the latest all weekend

He has conversations often with those who work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. When he was 4, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“We really didn’t know what his future was going to be like,’’ said his father Brian.

Nine years later, Owen Church is cancer free, thanks in no small part, the family says, to treatment provided by the hospital.

And a few days after he’d been asked which was his favorite football team, he found out why they wanted to know. His mother Kelly called Owen at school and told him he had been selected to announce one of the Seahawks’ picks in this weekend’s NFL draft.


Owen Church is scheduled to accompany former Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander to the stage in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday to announce Seattle’s second-round pick, No. 37 overall.

Per an NFL news release a few weeks ago, Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor is scheduled to announce Seattle’s third-round pick, now No. 92 overall.

“It’s going to be an amazing opportunity,’’ Owen Church said in a phone interview Friday.

He and his dad drove from Jonesboro to Nashville on Friday morning, part of a weekend sponsored by the league and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The program is designed to raise awareness for the hospital, and among other activities is a visit to the NFL Network’s live coverage of the draft.

So why is a kid who lives in what his father says is an area evenly split with fans of Tennessee and the Dallas Cowboys a fan of the Seattle Seahawks?

Turns out it’s the influence of who he calls “a favorite uncle” who lives in West Seattle and is a big Seahawks fan.


That favorite uncle, though, is more than just a fan, having briefly actually worn a Seahawks uniform in competition.

Church’s uncle, Tim McMonigle, was a kicker at Idaho from 1981-84, playing his last three years under Dennis Erickson when the Vandals morphed into a power in the Big Sky Conference.

When McMonigle graduated he held basically every Idaho kicking record there was to hold.

He signed a free agent deal with the Seahawks and spent camp with Seattle in 1986, assigned jersey No. 5.

Beating out established incumbent Norm Johnson was going to be difficult, though, and McMonigle was released before the season.

But his stories of the Seahawks — for at least a little while he could say he was teammates with Kenny Easley, Curt Warner and Steve Largent and got to be coached by Chuck Knox — and his following of the team convinced Owen to become a fan.


“We love to visit him, and we love Seattle,’’ Owen said Friday.

He also now can share a love of playing football with his uncle.

The cancer Owen was diagnosed with is one that St. Jude’s says is the most common type of childhood cancer, most often striking children between ages 3 and 5, with about 3,000 cases found to have it each year.

But early diagnosis and treatment mean that about 90 percent of children can be cured, St. Jude’s says, with patients considered cured after 10 years in remission.

Owen Church had an initial extended stay at St. Jude’s in Memphis and then regular visits.

But now, while he remains a story of inspiration, he is also as normal as any 13-year-old, and last fall turned out for tackle football for the first time, playing receiver and cornerback. He also is a distance runner and has been timed at 5 minutes, 36 seconds in the mile.


He has his own Seahawks jersey and watches every game he can, paying particular attention to favorite player Russell Wilson.

“I just like his style of play and how he is a threat both throwing and running the ball,” he said.

As for what name he’ll announce Friday night, he says he has no real ideas for the Seahawks, other than he’d be fine if it were someone from Alabama — his father attended graduate school there, and the family is fans of the Crimson Tide.

Here’s what he says he does now about announcing he pick: “I’m very excited about it.”