Pitt’s James Conner diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Pittsburgh Panthers running back James Conner has been diagnosed with cancer. The school announced that he’s has Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

It’s not clear at this time if the junior will have to miss the team’s bowl game due to his news. The Panthers, who finished with an 8-4 mark, should go to a significant bowl game.

“When I heard those words– `You have cancer’ –I admit I was scared,” Conner said. “But after thinking about it for a bit, I realized that fear is a choice. I choose to not fear cancer. I choose to fight it and I will win.

“One year ago today I was asking myself, `Why me?’ Why was I the lucky one to be getting the ACC Player of the Year award when I had so many teammates who deserved it as much as me? Now one year later, instead of asking, `Why me?’ I am saying, `Why not me?’ I can beat cancer.

For those that do not know, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a rare cancer that occurs in your immune system that is called the lymphatic system. It’s also called Hodgkin’s disease.

There are fewer than 200,000 cases in the United States every year. It requires a medical diagnosis, according to the Mayo Clinic. It also can be treatable by medical professionals, but lab tests are required to help with being treated.

“I know there are so many people in the world who were told by their doctors this week that they also have cancer. I want them to know that together we can–and will–beat cancer.

Connor is already insisting that he’ll beat this disease. Head coach Pat Narduzzi believes that he’ll do it as well.

“It has been almost a year since I first met James and I’ve learned many things about him during that time,” Narduzzi said. “Yes, he is a talented football player, but more importantly, he is an exceptional person. Being an athlete is just a small fraction of who he is. James cares deeply about others. He is invested in his community and helping people in need.

“Know this: James Conner will not face this challenge alone. We are all going to be right beside him every step of the way. And the day that he is declared cancer free, we will all celebrate like we do after one of his patented touchdown runs. James has never backed down from an opponent and we all know this is a battle he will win.”

There are two main kinds of Hodgkin lymphoma, as there’s the classical Hodgkin lymphoma, which is the case for the majority of the people who get this disease. The other kind is referred to as nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma.

Each type of cancer grows different inside the person and spreads differently. Recently, this same disease took the life of Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Phil “Flip” Saunders.

Once Connor beats this disease, he wants to put the pads on again.

“I will play football again,” he said. “I will be at Heinz Field again. I have the best coaches and teammates in the country. I thank God I chose Pitt because now I also have the best doctors in the country and together we will win. I know this city has my back.”

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