We’ve all lost someone to cancer. It is a perpetual, all-encompassing disease that practically embodies our perception of Death, and one that has taken the lives of countless human beings and affected the lives of countless more. But if ALF’s ass-whipping of Lymphoma has shown us anything, it’s that nothing, not even cancer, can triumph over the power of human will.
Legendary sports personality and Sportscenter anchor Stuart Scott received the heartbreaking diagnosis seven years ago. Seven years. And last night, he received the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, named after college basketball coach and broadcaster Jimmy Valvano, at the 2014 ESPYs.
His speech was nothing short of beautiful, the kind of speech that I can do no justice in describing with simple adjectives, no matter how monosyllabic and pretentious they would be. You could almost feel the Nokia Center settle with the gravitas of Scott’s trademark voice as he sang the praises of his co-workers, his friends and family — everyone who helped him when he needed it most. Having spent 7 of the past 10 days laid up in the hospital with kidney failure and liver complications (among other ailments), undergoing 4 surgeries in the process, Stuart was unsure if he’d even be able to make it to the ESPYs to accept his award.
“I couldn’t fight,” Stuart lamented. “But the doctors and nurses could. The people that I loved…they could fight.”
But Scott did make it. He persevered and will surely continue to persevere because that’s just the kind of guy he is. He won’t be defeated by his greatest foe. He’ll go down, sure, but not out. In the words of Valvano, Scott will never give up. And his words will surely pull at the heartstrings of anyone who has ever done the same, or seen someone who has. Because in the end, cancer may defeat you, but it will never win.
“When you die, it doesn’t mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” – Stuart Scott