PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The first thing you notice about Brady Hunker is his big smile. That’s something he’s never lost even through his battle with bone cancer.
His battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma began two years ago when his right leg started to ache and swell.
Hunker is a hockey player, so he didn’t think anything about it. Then the pain got much worse.
“An MRI later showed that something was in there and then that’s kind of how our journey all started here at Children’s,” Hunker said.
What was in there was a tumor. Hunker has a scar where doctors performed leg salvage surgery by removing the tumor and inserting titanium rods. The cancer spread, so next came chemotherapy.
“My first thought was, of course, it’s scary to hear that type of news. But I’ve always been a very strong believer in Christ and my faith and everything and that’s really how I feel that I’ve gotten through my battle so far,” Hunker said.
His ally in that battle is Dr. Lisa Maurer, a pediatric hematologist and oncologist at Children’s.
“Ewing’s Sarcoma is one of the bone tumors that affects mostly adolescents. It can affect younger children or older adults. It’s one of the two most common types of bone tumors in children,” Maurer said.
Hunker lost his hair, which doesn’t really bother him. The nausea from chemo hasn’t been too bad. He says he’s still a big eater. He still manages to get his school work done and have time to hang out with friends and his girlfriend.
“A smile on his face and he’s put up with some of the most intense chemotherapy there is with such a positive attitude and such a supportive family that it’s amazing to watch,” Maurer said.
Hunker’s smile got even bigger last year when Sidney Crosby and other Penguins players visited Children’s and stopped in to see him.
“I don’t know of any other, better place to get treatment just with how accommodating and just everything that Children’s does for patients,” Hunker said.
Now, this hockey player is planning for college and says he feels blessed to have such a great hospital so close to home.
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