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"You have cancer". Almost 10 years ago I received this statement from a doctor while cornered in a small office at UW Health. It was a statement I never thought I would hear, especially at the young age of 18. Just a week earlier I was starting my college career as a bright eyed and excited freshman at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. The diagnosis was for Testicular Cancer, and it was the beginning of the battle for my life.
Since I was a young kid, I've always had a large passion for sports. I remember watching reruns of the ESPY's on television and seeing Coach Jimmy Valvano receive the Aurther Ashe Award for Courage. While in the final stages of his fight against cancer, he gave an unforgettable speech which still resonates today. Within those few minutes at the podium, he said a simple but powerful phrase; "Don't Give Up, Don't Ever Give Up". Throughout my fight against Cancer at UW Health, I kept those words fresh in my mind. After a 6-month battle, with the help of my oncology team and support from my beloved family and friends, I became a cancer survivor.
I can't begin to express what an unbelievable honor it is to be this year's ACS Champion of Hope. I look forward to taking part in this year's event and being part of an organization that continues to help fund cancer research that can ultimately provide patients a second chance at life.
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