ESPN’s Stuart Scott: Kickboxing Cancer

March 19, 2014
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Stuart ScottI have always admired ESPN sports anchor Stuart Scott, 48, of West Hartford, Connecticut. Maybe it’s because he’s originally from North Carolina, where I lived for 12 years. Maybe it’s because we both attended and graduated from UNC Chapel Hill. Or maybe it’s because both of our broadcasting careers got a start at the student radio station on campus.

Stuart ScottI have always admired ESPN sports anchor Stuart Scott, 48, of West Hartford, Connecticut. Maybe it’s because he’s originally from North Carolina, where I lived for 12 years. Maybe it’s because we both attended and graduated from UNC Chapel Hill. Or maybe it’s because both of our broadcasting careers got a start at the student radio station on campus. Lately, we’ve had something else in common: recurring bouts of cancer.

As I have mentioned here, I was diagnosed with CLL leukemia in 1996 and have had a long remission. In 2011 a second cancer, myelofibrosis was diagnosed. I am doing well. Unfortunately, Stuart has had a much tougher go and with much more toxic medicines. His diagnosis is the rare appendiceal cancer, the same type my friend Jennifer Ambrose from Chicago was treated for years ago at UC San Diego. Patient Power featured her in a great early video. She has been doing well. As we know, though, each patient’s journey is different. Unfortunately for Stuart, the cancer has come back now three times. He has had 58 infusions of chemo. Now he takes a fairly toxic pill.

But Stuart, to his credit, keeps plugging. You can see him on ESPN regularly. He’s thin and his co-workers tell him to take more of a break. But he’s driven. He also works hard to stay in shape. Kickboxing is his sport. Sometimes he does it with a chemo pack strapped to his side. This is one celebrity who doesn’t hide his fight with cancer and shows the way to celebrate living and drive himself each day to enjoy all he can. Admirable, for sure.

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Stuart Scott has been on ESPN since 2007. He’s one of the sport network’s most famous anchors and I hope he continues to do what he loves and what we love about him for a long time. How long that is, no one knows, but each day that he is there on screen and kickboxing at the gym is testimony that we can be stronger than cancer. And, as we say in North Carolina and I am sure Stuart would echo, “Go Tar Heels!” Surely, Stuart is one of Tarheelia’s favorite sons and always will be.