Colon Cancer has affected so many households all over the world, but so little is heard about it being one of the most deadliest cancers in the USA. In our Kicking Colon Cancer’s Butt column this week, we will be revisiting the story of infamous MLB player, Darryl Strawberry, who was known mostly for his cocaine and pain killer addiction; but also a survivor of colon cancer.
In 1980, he was picked first overall by the New York Mets where his historic career started. Throughout his 17 seasons in the majors, he went on to collect, eight All-Star appearances (’84-’91), four World Series titles (’86,’96,’98,’99), a 1983 Rookie of the Year trophy, two-time Silver Slugger Award (’88, ’90) and co-champion of the Home Run Derby (’86). On October 1, 1998, Mr. Strawberry was diagnosed with colon cancer, which took him away from the game that he loved during the most crucial time of the year for baseball. Two days later, he would undergo surgery to remove a tumor and 24 inches of his colon.
But that wasn’t it.
During surgery, the doctors discovered that the cancer had spread into one of his lymph nodes, which, in turn, caused him to have to undergo the process of chemotherapy to help prevent the cancer from spreading any further. He would not let this hold him down, as less than a year later, he would return to baseball.
Even though he was unable to perform at the same high level that earned him the aforementioned accolades, he was still was able to make a tremendous contribution to his team when he was called upon; most notably the three-run home run that he hit against the Texas Rangers in 1999 to help propel his New York Yankees Club to the ALCS (American Leagues Championship Series). 1999 would be Mr. Strawberry’s last year playing in the Big Leagues.
Colon Cancer continued to spread in his body during the year of 2000, and he had to remove another tumor from one of his lymph nodes in addition to the removal of his kidney. The constant fight with colon cancer was also followed by his continued addiction to drugs, and he was still having problems staying out of the penal system.
This drove him to point in which he lost his will to live, and while on trial stated, “I have stopped chemo and given up on my will to live.” He was then sentenced to rehab but continued to relapse which eventually caused him to be imprisoned until, in 2006, he got his life back on track and headed in the right direction. Since then, he has created the Darryl Strawberry Foundation, which supports kids with autism and is also the father of former University of Maryland basketball player D.J. Strawberry, who is now a pro player in the Euro league.
He is still alive today, and we’re glad that he didn’t let colon cancer beat him. Remember, Together, we can Kiel* Colon Cancer.