Heartbreaking news out of Pittsburgh Friday, as 2014 ACC Player of the Year James Conner revealed he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The official Pitt athletic site, PittsburghPanthers.com, includes Conner’s full statement, the general sentiment of which is one of positivity and sheer determination.
“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.”
Per the Mayo Clinic, “Advances in diagnosis and treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma have helped give people with this diagnosis the chance for a full recovery. The prognosis continues to improve for people with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”
From the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society: “The five-year relative survival rate is 93.7 percent for people with HL who were less than 45 years old at diagnosis.”
Conner’s outlook is statistically favorable, but no doubt the star running back has designs beyond just survival. Look for Conner to be back in blue-and-gold come next autumn.
Dr. Stanley Marks is hopeful Conner will be able to play for #Pitt next season.
— Sam Werner (@SWernerPG) December 4, 2015
Conner’s sure to bulldoze this disease, and return to dragging ACC defensive players around with him for another season.
A Heisman-caliber performer in 2014, Conner’s 2015 was cut short due to a knee injury. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe’s response then was similar to the outpouring of support for Conner immediately via social media.
— James Conner ️ (@JamesConner_) September 15, 2015
Media, opponents, teammates, other Pittsburgh football figures are all expressing their best wishes for Conner.
When I say I'm not worried… That's not a front. @JamesConner_ is gonna come back a better player & more importantly a better person..
— Ejuan Price 5⃣ (@E_Diddy5) December 4, 2015
Honestly everything college football says it wants to be, James Conner is. https://t.co/NNR6CHdBq0
— David Hale (@DavidHaleESPN) December 4, 2015
— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) December 4, 2015
It’s use to understand why. Conner’s one of college football’s many outstanding people, using his prominence to make a difference in the community around him. Jerry DiPaola’s Trib feature from last March on Conner’s charity work is a must-read, and sheds light into the overwhelming embrace extended the running back’s way in response to his diagnosis.
Those tweeting their thoughts can show their support of Conner by donating his charity of choice, The National Kidney Foundation.