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Gridiron Foes Tackle Cancer Off the Field

Superbowl opponents are also cancer survivors.

BY Lindsay Ray
PUBLISHED March 14, 2012

Although their teams were opponents on the field during Super Bowl XLVI, New England Patriots offensive lineman Marcus Cannon and New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich were united off the field in sharing their survivorship stories. Cannon received a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma shortly after graduating college and was drafted by the Patriots while still undergoing treatment. Herzlich, who received a diagnosis of Ewing’s sarcoma while finishing college, went undrafted but later signed with the Giants and played last season until an ankle injury sidelined him.

Actor Ray Romano and his wife, Anna, have gone public about her 2010 stage 1 breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. They’re also giving back by donating money for mammogram services to the Saban Free Clinic in Los Angeles and the American- Italian Cancer Foundation in New York City.

Tony Iommi, lead guitarist for metal band Black Sabbath, received a diagnosis of early-stage lymphoma. The group still plans to go forward with recording their first album in 33 years.

Grammy-winning R&B singer Etta James, 73, died Jan. 20 of complications related to leukemia.

Longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died Jan. 22 at age 85 from lung cancer. He was the most successful head coach of major college football, with 409 wins and two national championships.

Poet Wislawa Szymborska, 88, died of lung cancer Feb. 1. She was not well-known outside her native Poland until she won the Nobel Prize, when the award committee called her the “Mozart of poetry.”

Tony Gwynn, a baseball Hall of Famer and San Diego State University coach, underwent surgery in February for a malignant tumor in his cheek. This was a recurrence of a cancer Gwynn had operated on in August 2010. Gwynn has said he is recovering well.

Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, who played for the Montreal Expos and New York Mets, died Feb. 16 at age 57 from glioblastoma.

Guitarist Ronnie Montrose, 64, died of complications related to prostate cancer on March 3. He formed the band Montrose in the’70s and played with many musicians, such as Van Morrison and Herbie Hancock.

Style author and commentator Charla Krupp, 58, died from breast cancer on Jan. 23. She was best known for her book, How Never to Look Fat Again and her appearances on the Today show over the past decade.

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