COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It’s the words no one wants to hear, but all too many have in their lives: “You have cancer.”
“I was really, really blessed. Because the two times I heard that, the outcome was very positive as far as the recovery and what had to take place,” said Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen.
The first time Larsen heard those words was in 2007, at just 29 years old while playing for the Atlanta Thrashers. It was during the team’s medical evaluation day, when he decided to stop by the dermatologist who wasn’t busy.
“Just by chance, he was there. I wouldn’t have gone on my own, I know that. So the good Lord works in mysterious ways,” said Larsen. “He checked me out and right away, he took a sample and two days later, my trainer called me and said ‘Hey, you need to go see him now. It’s serious.'”
That day, he had surgery to remove the melanoma. That experience taught him the value of regular checkups. So three years later, when he noticed a lump on one of his testicles, he went to the doctor. Just days before the playoffs began, Larsen learned he had testicular cancer.
“I go back to the news that I got was, it’ll rock you for sure. But then it was followed up good news that this is treatable. We caught it early and this is what I try to promote is go, get checked out. Don’t wait,” said Larsen.
After three weeks of radiation, the cancer was removed. Soon after, Larsen retired from professional hockey, but his mission to bring awareness to men’s health is nowhere near over.
“This is what a night like this is for, or even this month, is how I look at it. To really just draw attention to it, said Larsen. “I grow this handlebar mustache which my wife hates and tolerates, bless her heart, and my kids love, to draw attention not to me but for others.”
To learn more about the CBJ Hockey Fights Cancer night and how you can donate to the CBJ Foundation, head to https://www.nhl.com/bluejackets/community/hockey-fights-cancer