NFL analyst Chris Mortensen is stepping away from his ESPN job to battle stage 4 throat cancer. In a classic example of “keep calm and carry on” courage, Mortensen’s statement dispassionately said that after getting his diagnosis his “focus shifted significantly to gathering information about the specifics of this cancer.” Mortensen, an information junkie, turned to what he knows and trusts best — knowledge. But seeking that — the raw facts — he found more than just data. He found how not alone he is, how not rare his diagnosis is, and how much courage has been mustered against it already — by millions.
“I have many inspirational examples of men, women and children who have faced this very fight,” Mortensen said in a statement. That’s right: Mortensen knows that even children have faced down what he faces. He credits his faith for giving strength and says he looks “forward to the battle.” Mortensen might revisit the words he wrote about his friend Merril Hoge‘s book, which he called “a unique profile of courage and inspiration, written … head-on and with a heart that is immeasurable.” Hoge, an NFL veteran and, like Mortensen, an ESPN broadcaster, beat Non-Hodgkin lymphoma after a shocking diagnosis in 2002. Hoge’s book is called Find a Way. It’s just what Mortensen is now busy trying to do.