Mike Schmidt always felt a sense of invincibility as a professional athlete.
That changed in 2013, when Schmidt — a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and widely considered the greatest third baseman in Major League Baseball history — was diagnosed with stage III melanoma.
The disease had spread to his lymph nodes and lungs, and he later learned it had metastasized to his brain.
“I was concerned about dying,” Schmidt told HemOnc Today. “We all contemplate life from time to time and we never think things like this will happen to us, but it was happening to me.”
Schmidt underwent a grueling regimen of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
He credits his faith, the support he received from family and friends, and the quality of care he received at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center for seeing him through his treatment journey.
Now cancer free, Schmidt has joined Your Cancer Game Plan, a Merck-led awareness campaign designed to help people with cancer and their loved ones cope with their health, emotional and communication needs.
“Sometimes we think, ‘Why me?” Schmidt said in an interview. “Well, maybe this happened to me because I have a wonderful, large platform that allows me to communicate to a lot of people.
“I’m always there for people who are dealing with a similar diagnosis,” he added. “I tell them, ‘I went through it and you can get through it.’ Hopefully it helps them, but I know one thing — it helps me. It makes me feel good. I feel like I’m paying it forward.”
Watch the video to hear Schmidt talk more about his involvement with Your Cancer Game Plan. For more information about the awareness campaign, go to www.yourcancergameplan.com. - by Mark Leiser and Kristie L. Kahl