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A Giant of a Survivor

Dr-Staddon-and-Mark-HerzlichIn 2008, life for Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich (shown here with his oncologist Arthur Staddon, MD, medical director of the JKCC) seemed to change instantly and drastically. One day he was practicing football and preparing for his senior season after winning the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award – and the next – he was being told he had Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. It was unknown if he’d ever walk again. And of course there was the question of survival. But Mark was determined to live, walk and return to football.

Over the next year he first underwent surgery at PAH to insert a titanium rod into his left leg and then a regimen of chemo and radiation therapy at the JKCC. His determination and spirit got him through – the excruciating pain, the recovery and finally – a year-plus period of reconditioning. In the fall of 2010 Mark was back playing in Boston for his senior year. A year later he earned a coveted spot with the NY Giants for the 2011 season, racking up 12 tackles as a rookie for the Giants, the Super Bowl champions that year. Mark’s “tweet” when he arrived in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl went viral that January:  “2 yrs ago I was told I might never walk again. Just WALKED off plane in Indy to play in The #SuperBowl. #TakeThatSh*tCancer.” Beyond his own struggles and triumphs Mark hopes to set an example and inspire others battling cancer.

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