Raebel has new battle

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Raebel

Former two-time All-American linebacker AJ Raebel, who has been battling testicular cancer since November, was in good spirits at his fundraiser last month. He just learned, however, he will need to have surgery to remove his lymph nodes. Photo by Tim Gumz.

It wasn’t the news AJ Raebel wanted to hear, but he’s sure not going to stop fighting now.

The former two-time All-American linebacker, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last November, learned last week he will need to have surgery to remove his lymph nodes.

“There are days where it gets frustrating and you lose motivation,” said Raebel, who last played for the Warhawks during the 2007 season.

Raebel, who began his chemotherapy treatments Jan. 18, finished his nine-week treatments March 15 and has since been trying to get back into a normal routine.

However, his lymph nodes increased to four centimeters. Thus, he will now travel to Indianapolis for a May 5 surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Raebel said his lymph nodes, which should be less than one centimeter, were two centimeters on Jan. 6 before beginning chemotherapy.

He said he wasn’t 100 percent sure why they increased, but explained the surgery should be a final step in defeating the cancer.

Still, Raebel might have to undergo another chemotherapy treatment after the surgery.

Athletic director Paul Plinske, a testicular cancer survivor, is confident Raebel will overcome the surgery.

“He’ll get through it fine,” Plinske said. “The prognosis is still outstanding. He’s in such great physical shape and because of his age, he’ll recover quickly. His future is bright.”

 That doesn’t mean, however, it’s going to be any easier for Raebel.

“It’s an intense surgery,” said Plinske, who also underwent the same surgery seven years ago. “He’ll have his work cut off for him.”

After the surgery, Raebel will have a nine-inch scar on his abdomen and will stay in the hospital for up to five days.

While it’s been difficult, Raebel has maintained a positive mindset.

This was evident Sunday during his 25th birthday celebration with a few friends.

“I appreciate the little things more and it was nice to take my mind off the [cancer] and to kind of forget about it,” Raebel said.

Raebel was in attendance at his fundraiser last month when more than $4,500 was raised for the Cure 33 Fund.

In total, Plinske, who was one of the leaders in starting the fund, said more than $12,000 has been raised for Raebel to offset his travel expenses and medical bills.

“We’re ecstatic with the amount of support people have provided to the cause,” Plinske said. “We just hope people will continue to provide, so he can continue his recovery in a quick, progressive manner.”

For Raebel, he has been touched by the support.

“It’s been incredible,” Raebel said. “Every bit does help.”