For his performance during the 1992-1993 season with the Pittsburg Penguins, back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships and gold medal win in the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake, Mario Lemieux earned the name “Super Mario”. But what is truly super about this hockey legend is that he is a cancer survivor.
In 1993 Mario was having the season of his career and was close to establishing a new National Hockey League (NHL) scoring record. Then, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, now known as Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
A cancer of the blood, Hodgkin’s lymphoma develops in the lymph system, part of the body’s immune system. There are two kinds of lymphomas: non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s. Both types of lymphoma have similar symptoms and characteristics, which include swollen lymph nodes, fever, night sweats and weight loss.
Mario had discovered a swollen lymph node on the back of his neck that was determined to be cancerous. After its removal he underwent radiation therapy, one of the procedures used to treat this cancer. But, on the morning of March 2, 1993, Mario finished his last radiation treatment, took a plane to Philadelphia, and scored a goal and an assist against the Philadelphia Flyers. Talk about keeping cancer in check!
Mario is now 20 years cancer-free and his personal experience with cancer led him to create his own foundation.
“My battle with Hodgkin’s disease in 1993 made me realize how fragile life can be,” he said. continue reading ...