This doesn't have anything to do with UCLA sports. But it doesn't matter because I think the following story transcends through the whole world of college sports. There is an incredible story on ESPN on Tennessee guard Chris Lofton beating cancer:Lofton's greatest conquest came off the court.
He beat cancer.
The three-time All-American, in an exclusive interview with ESPN.com, revealed for the first time publicly that he played his senior season at Tennessee after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from one of his testicles in March 2007.
He was diagnosed with cancer only a few days after Tennessee ended its 2006-07 season with a Sweet 16 loss to Ohio State in San Antonio. Miraculously, the cancer was discovered after Lofton was picked randomly following the first-round win over Long Beach State to submit to an NCAA-mandated drug test. The results turned up positive, and Tennessee officials weren't notified until the day of the Ohio State game.
What nobody knew at the time, at least for certain, was that what actually showed up on that test was a tumor marker.
It's a test that might have saved Lofton's life.
After blood work and then an ultrasound the next Monday, four days after the Ohio State game, revealed that Lofton indeed had cancer, secretive surgery was scheduled two days later on March 28 at UT Medical Center. The surgery was done early that morning, and Lofton's name never appeared on the board at the hospital. His parents were discreetly taken into the hospital, and Pearl even came in semi-disguise.
"I'm not a guy who cries a whole lot around people," said Lofton, who's now cancer-free and as determined as ever to pursue a professional basketball career. "But I cried more this past year than I have my whole life combined.
"I cried a river this past year."
Amazingly, Lofton went through the entire ordeal -- the surgery, radiation treatments, recovery and excruciating emotional distress -- with very few people knowing.It's a long piece and you have to read the entire article to appreciate what the kid went through.
I don't really care about reading stories on other teams but this one was special. Chris Lofton is leaving a "legacy" not just in Knoxville but in the entire world of college sports.