When former National Hockey League player Eddie Olczyk announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this season it was one of the saddest pieces of news that we had come across all year, and while we have unfortunately lost some former players to the disease since then, we were more than happy to announce on Thursday that Olczyk's battle with cancer has come to an end.
Olczyk announced that he has undergone his latest series of scans and test, and the results have shown that he is now cancer-free. This is of course terrific news for the entire Olczyk family, the staff over at NBC where Olczyk works to cover NHL games, and of course all the hockey fans who have followed him throughout his journey these past eight months.
He made the announcement that he’s officially cancer-free during the first intermission of Thursday’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks.
“All the cancer is gone,” he said. “We beat this thing, and I say we because it has been a team effort.”
What's been truly amazing about this story in particular is the fact that Olczyk has been extremely public about his battle with cancer, a disease that often sends people into depression, self-pity, and isolation. It's been clear from the very moment he made his public announcement that he meant to share his battle with cancer not only to bring awareness to the world for others who may also be suffering from the disease, but also to serve as an inspiration to always keep on fighting.
What's even more amazing is the message his son, Nick, a freshman at Colorado College, shared a touching tribute to his father after months of battling this devastating disease.
“Couldn’t be more proud of my dad and my hero for completing 6 grueling months of chemotherapy, enduring the battle of Colon cancer, and officially establishing a clean bill of health! #CancerFree”
Along with his moving message, Nick posted different pictures of his father and he at different stages on their lives. This is an important one seeing that Eddie Olczyk will now get to see his family for much longer after this triumphant victory over cancer. Despite the fact that the man was a professional athlete during his lifetime, he admitted that he never realized how just how much strength he, and other patients who go through chemotherapy, truly have inside of them.
“Anybody that takes chemo is way tougher than they ever thought they were,” Olczyk said as per the Chicago Sun-Times. “Look, I played a long time in the league and I’m very proud of my career. It’s hard to play in the NHL. I was never known as a tough player, I know that. But what I proved to myself is that I’m way tougher than I ever thought I was.”
Olczyk has admitted several times that he simply felt like giving up, but it was the support of his family, the love he has for them, and even all the strangers who were looking to him for inspiration, that provided him the strength to continue fighting an awful battle against an even more terrible disease.
“And when your wife’s sitting there crying, and you’re crying, man, it takes your breath away,” he said. “You’re like, OK. I’m fighting for my kids. I’m fighting for my wife. I’m fighting for my family. I’m fighting for hockey. I’m fighting for people I don’t even know.”
And you've won the fight, Eddie!