While a lot of people tend to think professional athletes have it made in the shade, it’s not true for all. While every athlete rains o keep their body in peak physical form, some are battling more than just the scale. These athletes have suffered and struggled against incredible odds in order to simply live through daily life, and have still managed to excel at the highest levels of competition.
Here’s a look at their inspirational stories.
Brian Bickell Battles MS
Brian Bickell was honored at the 2017 NHL Awards for his courage in his battle against MS, despite his diagnosis in November of the previous year.
After months of treatment, Bickell began skating again in January and played for the Charlotte Checkers, the American Hockey League affiliate for the Charlotte Hurricanes. The Hurricanes recalled Bickell for the final four games of the regular season, after which he retired.
Edna Campbell Beat Breast Cancer
A breast cancer diagnosis couldn’t keep the former 10th-overall pick in the 1999 WNBA draft on the sidelines. Edna Campbell kept playing, finishing three full seasons after her diagnosis.
She later authored The Breast Cancer Recovery Manual and has been an advocate for women’s health ever since.
Mario Lemieux Battled Lymphoma
Mario Lemieux was set to be the next Wayne Gretzky. He was on pace to challenge Gretzky’s single-season records for goals and points when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1993, putting his career, and life, in jeopardy.
The face of the Pittsburgh Penguins underwent grueling radiation treatments and managed to return before the end of the regular season.
Venus Williams Has An Autoimmune Disorder
Venus Williams, the former #1-ranked woman in the tennis world, wasn’t about to let a 2010 autoimmune diagnosis keep her off her path of excellence.
Despite being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, which attacks the mucus-secreting glands and causes fatigue and joint pain, she battled back to be ranked No. 18 in 2014.