After beating cancer, Ottawa hockey player Chris Kushneriuk looks to resume his career

The last time we spoke with Chris Kushneriuk he was at the Indiana University Cancer Center awaiting stem cell treatments and chemotherapy.

It was early December, 2012, and Kushneriuk, a pro hockey player from Gloucester, had just been told by Canadian doctors he had about six months to live. Some Christmas present.

Kushneriuks supreme hockey conditioning, though it would ultimately prove a weapon, was no defence against the initial cancer, his body ravaged by what began as testicular cancer but which had spread to his liver, kidney and lymph nodes. Your basic nightmare scenario.

As he spoke by phone from Indianapolis, in the care of Lance Armstrongs cancer doctor, Lawrence Einhorn, Chris was a few weeks away from his 26th birthday, still talking positively, convinced this was a battle he could win.

Happily, 14 months later we can report that Kushneriuk is not only alive and well, hes been cleared to play hockey again and is looking to sign with an ECHL team in the near future. If we were to take out a classified ad on Chris behalf, it might read like this: Wanted, a roster spot for a player of unparalleled heart and will. Team-first type, leader, survivor. Ready to report immediately.

Small wonder that when Kushneriuk resumes his hockey career, he has a gift in mind for Dr. Einhorn.

Im definitely going to give him my next jersey, for whichever team I play, Kushneriuk says. He saved my life, he deserves a jersey.

And then Chris laughs at the tradeoff. A jersey for a life.

The journey Kushneriuk took to arrive at this point is a story of personal triumph and modern medicine, but also a tale of friendship and community hockey support that made it possible for Chris to afford the type of bold surgical treatment that defied the initial doomsday prognosis.

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After beating cancer, Ottawa hockey player Chris Kushneriuk looks to resume his career

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