New England Patriots rookie guard Marcus Cannon, who found out eight days before the NFL draft that he had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, is scheduled to finish chemotherapy treatment this week and, labor situation permitting, he hopes to be ready for the first day of training camp in August, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
"The first thing my mom and my dad told me to do is pray," Cannon told the Star-Telegram last week, "and here we are today. I'm a fifth-round Patriots draft pick, and half the mass I had is gone. For everybody who doesn't believe, here's your reason to believe. It's a miracle in itself that somebody with a life-threatening disease gets drafted."
Cannon was 15 when he discovered a lump on his lower abdomen, but doctors told him "it was an infection and would go away." But when the lump started to grow, Cannon, then a redshirt sophomore at TCU, had a needle biopsy. Prompted by concerns from at least one NFL team prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, a full biospy was performed.
"It was pretty shocking," Cannon's father, Ebbie Cannon, told the Star-Telegram about the diagnosis. "We had never had cancer in our family. We thought maybe it was a mistake or something."
NFL teams were told by doctors in a memo that his chances of recovery are 90 percent, but Cannon fell to the fifth round in the draft, where he was taken by the Patriots.
The Star-Telegram reports that Cannon hasn't lost his hair, his weight is about the same, and he lifts weights three days a week at a local gym and runs at TCU with former teammates. He regularly tests his strength by benching 315 pounds.
"All I can do is keep doing what I'm doing," Cannon said. "That's to keep praying and accept my healing."