PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– They are words often used when we speak of athletes: focus, endurance, strength. I’d like to introduce you to a teenage athlete who embodies all them and whose relentless positivity helped him battle cancer.
Arnav Krishna and his twin brother Dhruv have a need for speed. Nationally ranked cyclists, they started biking in 2009 and they haven’t looked back.
Preparing for the U.S. Junior Nationals last year, their training schedule was grueling. Arnav says, “During the summer it was about six hours and during the school year two or three a day.”
Arnav ended up ranking 18th in the nation. He says, “I think I could have done a lot better but my leg was hurting a bit and it went down from there.” He added, “When I was walking I had a little limp.”
His pain wasn’t related to the after effects of the intense cycling, and his parents Sunita and Nitin knew that something wasn’t right. His father Nitin says, “We would catch him a few times walking not the way he normally would, so we knew there was something wrong. But we didn’t know it was so wrong until the time we took him to the doctors.”
The diagnosis? Osteosarcoma, a rare form of cancer.
According to Nitin, “Only 400 kids in America are detected with this cancer every year and 90 percent of those are boys between the age of 13 to 21, which is their growing age. What are the odds that one in the 400 kids is my son? The doctors told us that this is the most aggressive form of bone cancer and this probably was in his system within three months so that is how quickly and aggressively it was growing.”
Surgery was scheduled almost immediately in order to remove the tumor and save Arnav’s leg. Arnav says, “It was rough. It was a 14-hour surgery and it was pretty rough afterward for a few months but it eventually got better.”
Neighbors placed yellow ribbons on trees to show their support. Arnav says, “It made me happy and gave me inspiration for the chemo ahead.”
His chemo treatments are now complete and Arnav is slowly on the mend. His family and friends are thankful for the medical treatment he received. They gathered to celebrate his continued to recovery, and now look forward to the future.
Nitin says, “Medically if he is fine with scans for the next five years he’s out of the woods and we hope by then he gets back on the saddle as well.”
Arnav hopes to be back on his bike much sooner, by the end of the year if possible. After all, he had one goal over the past few months. He says, “Just win the race and beat the cancer.”
Win the race and beat the cancer. Spoken like a true athlete!
The 11th annual Alex Scott: A Stand for Hope Telethon is on Thursday.
We are raising money for childhood cancer. Alex Scott dreamed of the day when none of her friends would have to fight cancer — and even though Alex lost her own battle, we are joining her family and friends in keeping her dream alive.