FAIRBANKS, Alaska - For this week's Nanook Corner we talk to a UAF Hockey Player who returned to Fairbanks after his recent Cancer Diagnosis.
The hockey team welcomed back one of their own late last week when Brennan Blaszczak returned to Fairbanks. Blaszczak was diagnosed with testicular cancer back in December and had the tumor successfully removed near his hometown of Troy Michigan. We caught up with Blaszczak to talk about what he has been through this past month.
"The doctor knew right away what it was. It just hit me, my body was drained. I cannot tell you what it felt like. It was not a fun feeling that I wish nobody could experience, but it's life, it happens. The worst part was telling my parents over the phone. That was the hardest part of that," said Blaszczak.
Thankfully for Blaszczak, he won't have to undergo any Chemotherapy or Radiation treatment, and will be cleared to start working out with the team again on February 1st.
"The worst part was waiting on the results and if I could come back up here and rejoin the boys or not or if I was just going to be on the couch with my parents. It was overwhelming joy that I didn't have to go through what Jack Weiss unfortunately had to go through. That does not look fun. I'm just glad to be back up here," said Blaszczak.
"You're just excited and happy for him and his family. His family having to go through it... It's just so much of the unknown right? Like you don't know what the diagnosis is, what the steps in the process are going to be as you're waiting for the results back from it. It's just wonderful to have him back around the guys, have him back around the locker room. I know it's been a big boost for us," said Erik Largen, Head Coach – Nanook Hockey.
The last time Blaszczak was on the Ice was just days after his diagnosis when he appeared in two games against Lake Superior State on December 7th and 8th. He finished that series with an assist and a +1 rating.
"When I got back on the Ice... That whole week, that was the only time I didn't think about it. It was therapeutic. For like, an hour, hour and a half, I was out there just playing hockey and having fun. It was the only time I was stress–free and not thinking about it. It was a blessing to be able to lace the skates up and get on the ice," said Blaszczak.
Now, with the support of his teammates, including Jack Weiss who went through Testicular Cancer last year, the university, and the Fairbanks Hockey community, Blaszczak gets to return his focus to Hockey.
"I've heard a lot of people say that I'm like, in their prayers and stuff and I really appreciate that. I'm really happy to get up here, I was a little bummed when they came up and I was still at home, still had a couple weeks to recover but I had to do what I had to do. I'm just so glad to be up here now," said Blaszczak.