Graham Walker Schanz has recently become an internet sensation after announcing for Taysom Hill, the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, and former football player for the BYU Cougars, along with other famous sports players and teams.
Graham, son of Nathan and Sadie Schanz, is a fifth grader at Jefferson Elementary and a resident of Rigby. He was given the opportunity to begin his announcing career this past March, 2021 by his uncle Adam.
Graham’s uncle, Adam Schanz, who owns Alder Security in Orem, Utah, reached out to Hill to see if he would be interested in giving a motivational speech during a business convention. Hill then asked Adam if he could find someone to announce him onto the stage. Sadie said Adam remembered Graham doing an announcement for Taysom during a family get-together a few months earlier, so Adam recommended Graham to Hill, who said yes.
Graham has since had the opportunity to announce for Zach Wilson (quarterback for the New York Jets), BYU Baseball, BYU Sports TV, the Idaho Falls Chuckers, the Salt Lake Bees and at the Rigby High School pep assembly for their recent homecoming.
“I love announcing,” Graham said.
According to Graham, he wants to keep announcing. Graham says he wants to be as good as Tony Parks, who announces for the Salt Lake City Bees and Jazz, and Bruce Buffer, who announces for the UFC, among other things.
Graham stated he loves watching UFC fights, and would like to get the opportunity to announce for them. His favorite fighters are Dustin Poirier and Don Frye.
According to Graham, he would like to be a traveling announcer and not just stick to one thing.
Though he has risen to internet fame, it wasn’t always like that.
When Graham was only four months old, he was diagnosed with AML Leukemia, which he battled for seven months off and on. There was a time when Graham Code Blued, or flatlined, and Sadie stated it was the worst thing she had ever experienced, despite his cancer diagnosis.
Since then, he has had a raspy voice, which his mother believes was caused by the feeding tube he had during his chemotherapy. Graham can easily lose his voice if he yells or talks too much, which Graham stated happens a lot. Though he yells a lot when announcing, Graham doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
Graham doesn’t remember his time in the hospital, but stated when he thinks of cancer, it’s feeding tubes and a hospital bed.
“Now that I’m cancer free, I feel lucky,” Graham said. “I feel lucky because I could have died, but I didn’t.”
When asked what he thinks is so special about who he is, he said himself.
His mother jumped in and said one of Graham’s best qualities is that he has the ability to make everyone feel happy. He has always been that way since he was little. He has a very happy spirit about him. That’s one of the best qualities; everyone he’s around he can make them feel happy.
Graham is the great-grandson of George Marriott, a local Rigby war veteran and one of the giants, who recently passed away, and looked up to his Grandpa Marrie.
When Graham was sick with cancer, Sadie stated they had bracelets made in honor of Graham. The bracelets said, “Graham Walker Schanz — True Grit.”
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, babies receive blessings when they are born. Sadie had said, when Nathan was giving their son his blessing, Nathan blessed him that he would have true grit. They had both thought it strange at the time, but four months later, Sadie said Graham would need that true grit.
Marriott wore the bracelet in remembrance of his grandson even after Marriott passed, and Sadie said he was buried with it. One of Marriott’s daughters had died from cancer at the age of 22, Sadie had mentioned, and it always stayed with Marriott.
“I think it always affected him that Graham had cancer,” said Sadie. “He was very much in Graham’s corner. Praying for Graham that he wouldn’t have the same fate as his daughter.”
Sadie had then been diagnosed with a Hemangiotericytioma brain tumor in 2015, just a few years after Graham had been deemed cancer free.
According to Sadie, he was still little enough that he still had his happy go lucky personality. Graham was young enough and his personality was so positive that it didn’t affect him as much as it did Sadie’s oldest son. Sadie said her son Sawyer must have remembered when Graham was in the hospital, and it was difficult for him to watch his mother be sick.
Since Graham has had all of these opportunities and gigs, Sadie stated Sawyer had mentioned Graham was always getting these cool gigs, and getting new shoes or something out of the gig, and so Sadie asked him if he wanted to get a gig, and he said absolutely not.
“His personality is just so the opposite of Graham’s,” Sadie said. “He is very much of an introvert. The kids think it’s really cool. My older son thinks it’s pretty awesome that his little brother is popular. Both of my children think it’s pretty cool.”
Sadie mentioned Capri, Graham’s little sister, that after he had finished his gig with Taysom, she had seen his video on TV, so she memorized it and would walk around the house, announcing like Graham had done.
Graham wanted to thank his uncle because Graham would not have been an announcer if others hadn’t seen him announcing Taysom Hill. Graham also mentioned he is grateful for his dad, who has helped Graham to get his gigs and be able to continue announcing.
Graham’s mother stated it has been their thing.
Graham’s mother teared up when asked what it’s been like watching her son overcome cancer and become the boy he is today. She said she realized how lucky she has been to have a child that battled cancer and not only survived but thrived since being deemed cancer free. There are so many who don’t get to that point, and she believes it’s wonderful that he is here, is a nice kid, and is happy and loves everyone. It’s been fun to watch her kid do things and live out their dream a little bit, she said.
“Since Graham had such a go in the beginning and we didn’t know if he would make it, it’s just wonderful,” she said.
Sadie said there is a possibility the cancer could come back, but Graham is just over nine years out and she doesn’t even entertain the thought and feels good about life. She chooses to only think about the positive.
Graham has his own YouTube channel called The young HYPE Announcer for those interested in following Graham along his journey announcing for some of the biggest names in sports.