News about famous athletes suffering from various medical conditions remind us that athletes too, are after all like the rest of us and are as susceptible to heath problems as others. But athletes, with their fighting spirit and never say die attitude, can also inspire those of us who are fighting life threatening illnesses such as cancer.
Here are a few famous athletes who suffered from cancer, yet fought the disease tooth and nail to return to the game.
Mario Lemieux - Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Arguably one of the best ice hockey players, Lemieux was a gifted sportsperson who despite his large size, played hockey beautifully. He suffered from chronic back pain, spinal disc herniation and chronic tendinitis his entire career. In 1993 he announced that he suffered from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Due to this condition he was forced to undergo energy draining radiation therapy. This cast a doubt on his sporting career as well as his own life. Due to the treatment he missed 2 months of play; the peak of his career when he was at his best. One of the greatest examples of his courage is that he flew to Philadelphia to play on the last day of his radiation treatment and also scored a goal.
Mike Lowell – Testicular Cancer
Mike Lowell was a Major League Baseball third baseman. Just one year after getting in to Major League, in 1999, Lowell found that he had testicular cancer. This caused him to miss spring training as well as two months of regular season. But he fought back and returned to the game to win 3 World Series titles and was also named 4 times to the All-Stars team.
Edna Campbell – Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer afflicting women globally. Edna Campbell, women’s basketball player was no exception. During the peak of her career she suffered from breast cancer. However she became a symbol of courage as she battled the disease and continued to play even through her treatments. Later on she became the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation’s national spokesperson, inspiring many women to recover from the disease.
Martina Navratilova – Breast Cancer
The former tennis player has many accolades to her credit. She is considered to be one of the finest tennis players ever, with 18 grand slam singles titles, 31 major women’s doubles titles and 10 major mixed doubles titles to her credit. However this powerhouse sportsperson was detected with breast cancer in 2010 which she battled.