September 16, 2011. This past week, the New York Times ran two stories involving young cancer patients. The first mentioned Kevin McDowell, a star triathlete who had to drop out of the running for the world championship because he got diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
In the second story, we learned that Andy Whitfield, the former star of the show, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” died from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 39 years old.
Embedded in both of these stories is a truth that young survivors know all too well: cancer robs you not just of time, but of prized opportunities. Even those of us not destined to be champions or Hollywood stars have lost chances that mattered deeply to us: to go to graduate school, to move away from home, to travel the world uninsured, to have a child, to grow old.
Cancer exacted the highest price it could from Whitfield: it took his life. But even before that, it stole his dream. In early 2010, he was playing the lead in a popular show. Women swooned over his looks, and men wanted to copy his fitness routine. Then his doctor told him he had cancer, and he had to step aside so [...] continue the story