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"Ballin' Through Adversity": My Story With Testicular Cancer.

Updated: Apr 5

Last June, I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer. Cancer. Perhaps the scariest word to process when it comes to life and health. An unexpected development you wouldn't wish upon even your worst enemy. Yet unfortunately, it exists, even to a 24 year old at the time, professional athlete. Cancer knows no bounds, affects all walks of life, young or old, healthy or unhealthy, no matter who you are or what you have been through.

After doing a self examination in the shower 6 months after, something one of my best friends, and college roommate at Harvard, PK advised on how to perform (verbally, without the physical demonstration), I noticed something unusual that hadn't been there. PK is in Med School at Columbia, studying to become an orthopaedic surgeon. While my college roommates and I were catching up over some playstation gaming, PK shared with Rio, Reed and I (through some light jokes) the importance of checking for unusual hardness, or bumps in our family jewels. As funny of a topic as that sounds for some guys playing video games to discuss, the most common ages to be effected by testicular cancer range from 18-35 in men, something I had absolutely no clue of. Upon identifying the abnormal bump, I called my family doctor to schedule an appointment, at the time I was in my second professional season with the Scarborough Shooting Stars and was able to be scheduled to see my doctor once I returned from our trip to Montreal. Dr. Saeedi advised an ultrasound to be done and a meeting with a Urologist, and recommended Dr. Dagnone, who is an esteemed Urologist and staff surgeon at Trillium Health Partners. Upon meeting with Dr. Dagnone and undergoing a physical exam and reviewing my 1st ultrasound, he ordered an additional ultrasound and bloodwork to be done to get a confirmation of his initial thoughts, early-stage testicular cancer. Once those results came back, strengthening his opinion, and following completion of a CT scan, I was booked for surgery for July 18th, resulting in an early end to my season with Scarborough. Thankfully, I was able to detect the cancer relatively early, which meant that the plan was just to make me lighter on one side, and just monitor my health going forward through check-ups at Princess Margaret Hospital the next 9 years. The first 3 years I was advised to be checked on every 6 months, and then yearly from then on to year 9. So far, so good.

Post-Op at Trillium Hospital, July 18

10 weeks post-op I was able to get back into regular activity per surgeons orders. Although there is a very tiny chance that the cancer can return, I've been back to living my normal life just like I was prior to this entire experience. A common saying I've heard regarding cancer diagnosis' and experiences has been “do not let it define you”, and a good friend of mine and coach, Faiz Ahmed, was someone who really hit the nail on the head with that through conversation.

Text Conversation with Faiz

Faiz wrote a letter to himself a while back which had always stuck with me, it was an extremely powerful, detailed message he wanted to pass on to his 19 year-old self. In this letter, he details some of his story surrounding his medical experience, “In the next few weeks there will be a bunch of scary words thrown around. Don’t worry, with time you will learn to accept them. They will become a part of you, of your story, of your soul. And there is nothing scary about that” ( That last text in the image above is my favourite. I accepted and am confident with this just being another chapter in my growing life story.

Regardless of my diagnosis and experience through this cancer, it doesn't cross my mind anymore, I've accepted I will need to go for check-ins, but that's just another thing I will do to make sure I am healthy. Through thorough understanding and research, as well as conversation with medical professionals, I understand with testicular cancer you still can have children, compete, and overall just live as I normally would, which I was concerned with when the possibility of cancer came to mind. I chose not to return to playing overseas this year to monitor my health here at home, but I have been training and I am ready to compete this summer professionally again.

Thank you to all the medical personnel that played a huge part in supporting me, informing me, treating me and taking care of me through this entire process, especially to Dr. Joel Dagnone for his care before and after surgery, being there to answer all of my questions and offer support. Thank you to PK for making me aware of the checking process, without him I probably would not have known that I could, and should, check on my own. Thank you to Faiz, and my other close friends who are basically family for their support and love through this process. Through a process that's confusing and hard to believe at times, I turned to close friends to distract me and support me, thank you. Thank you to the Scarborough Shooting Stars organization, everyone involved is family to me, for supporting me through appointments, being flexible with me, and there for me through my process. Lastly thank you to my family, specifically my Dad, Mom and Brother for their unwavering love and support not only through this process but always. Separate from it being a stressful time for them, they rarely showed it and were there every step of the way with me, as they are with everything, love you to the moon and back.

Life truly is short and fragile. I've always been an extremely appreciative person, but this situation has changed my perspective on life a bit, I appreciate even the tiniest of things now. Make sure you love the people you do love with everything you have in you. Unexpected things happen, so appreciate the little things, be there for those you love, call them, hug them, tell them you love them.

CEBL Champ. SSS.

I wanted to share my story to in hopes to spread awareness not only to shed light on testicular cancer, but to remind everyone to look after their health as well, you only have one life to live, take care of yourself and those around you. I also don't mean it to scare anyone either, testicular cancer is actually the most treatable cancer. “When caught early, the cure rate is close to 100 percent. This is true for men with early stage testicular cancer, where it has not spread past the testicle” (Urology Care Foundation,

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month and is the most common cancer diagnosed in men ages 15-44. I wanted to share my experience to spread awareness and also to offer support to any and all who are going through or have gone through this cancer.

Check out how to perform a self-exam from the Testicular Cancer Society Website:


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