“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice” – Bob Marley
I was diagnosed with Stage 2a Testicular Cancer at the age of 21. You never think you are going to be the one diagnosed with cancer, especially at such a young age. Nevertheless, as we all know too well, cancer does not discriminate against age, gender, or ethnicity.
It all started in the summer of my junior year going into my senior year of college. I had just finished my outdoor season at Rider University where I was a Long/Triple Jumper. I just had the best season of my career and had set all my personal best in both my events. I was in the best shape of my life. Then came August 14, 2012. After going to see a few doctors to be evaluated, they urged me to go and speak with an Urologist. My life changed that day. I remember walking into the office with my dad. We shook the doctor’s hand and then took a seat. The first words that came out of his mouth were, “Greg there is no beating around the bush, you have cancer.” You hear the words “you have cancer,” and you immediately start having hundreds of questions run through your head. How could I have cancer? How did I get it? Am I going to live? Then I looked up over at my dad and made eye contact. We both just said, “well we are going to beat it!” It was this positive attitude that made the difference and got me through it.
After visiting many other doctors to get multiple opinions on how to treat my cancer, we decided to go to Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City. Here I was to go through four rounds of chemotherapy, which consisted of 3-week cycles. A 3-week cycle consisted of 4 hours a day for 5 days a week. Then came hydration on the 6 th day with 2 weeks recovery to follow. After completing my chemotherapy on November 17th, I had to start mentally preparing for my major surgery that was to take place on January 4th. This 5-hour surgery was to remove all of the Lymph nodes in my abdomen. It left me with a scar from my pelvis to my sternum, which took 70 staples to close up. But, on January 11th we had found out that my surgery was a success and I was cancer free!
After the long road of recovery that took about 1 year, I was back in school and on my track team. With the help of my teammates, family, and roommate Anthony DeFranco (Ninja Regional Director), I was able to get back out on the track and continue right where I left off and break my Long Jump personal record post-cancer to finish off my career!
Now that Anthony and I had finished our collegiate careers, we were in search of our next sport. Then came American Ninja Warrior! Anthony and I started training together in October of 2015. We were both very new to the sport and found out quickly how tough both mentally and physically you had to be to compete in this sport. However, that was the one of the best parts about it. I loved the fact that it was a brand new challenge.
After training for a couple months, we decided that we were going to make submission videos and apply to the show. We submitted our videos in December and then had to wait 4 months to find out if we were going to get the call to compete. Then, in early May, we received the call. All of our training was going to be put to the test. On May 27th we got our chance to step out on the course in Philadelphia and compete as American Ninja Warriors!
Come visit me at Centercourt Club+Sports – Lawrence NJ, where I run the Centercourt_Ninja programs!!