Hitting Back at Hodgkin Lymphoma

In the ring, it's not about whether you win or lose; it's about never staying down and never giving up.

In my senior year of high school, I seemed to have everything going for me. I had just been accepted to a great hockey college, which also happened to be my father’s alma mater; I was happy and excited for my future, and I was ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, that feeling and outlook on life was taken from me in an instant. I was involved in a car accident that left me with a broken leg and a lost hockey career. I felt as though my life, as I knew, was taken away from me in a moment.

It took me almost a year to come to terms with my new situation. Then, just as I was starting to feel a little more like myself again, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. I was devastated and could not help but think, “Why is this happening to me?”

Not only was my hockey career taken from me, but now I was afraid for my life. It all seemed so unfair and was so completely devastating.

That was four years ago, and I am still here today, stronger and more positive about my future than ever before. I have fought so hard that it is difficult for me to imagine that there is anything that will keep me down, and so I strive to remain positive. However, this was not always the case.

When I was first diagnosed with lymphoma, I was 20 years old. At that time, I was told that I would never be an athlete again. I didn’t know how this cancer would affect me, so initially I believed that I wouldn’t compete at the level I used to or push myself in the same competitive spirit that I once had done. I became passive in my battle with lymphoma and in life in general. However, when I relapsed the first time, I decided to embrace a more positive outlook and to take charge of my own care. I decided that I would be true to myself and fight with everything I had in me to not only beat my cancer, but to change the future for others affected by this disease.

It was then that I decided to begin training to become a boxer. I wanted to put myself in the ring and fight, just like I was fighting every day for my life. I realized that there were a lot of similarities about the way that I fought in the ring and the way that I fought in life.

In the ring, it's not about whether you win or lose; it's about never staying down and never giving up.

Similarly, cancer may knock you down, but it's up to you to choose whether you will get back up and fight. It is up to you to make the decision to be strong. I am now in my fourth battle with lymphoma and still not giving up on myself or my dreams of helping others. To that end, I am a proud Diplomat for the Lymphoma Research Foundation, helping to provide inspiration and hope to others in the lymphoma community and beyond.