Throughout his battle with cancer, 82-year-old sports broadcasting legend Dick Vitale has found himself turning to a familiar source of comfort and strength: his Catholic faith.
In a recent Tweet, Vitale shared his commitment to his faith and his gratitude for the support his faith community has offered him throughout his chemotherapy treatment. He also revealed an impressive streak: “Chemotherapy was tough this weekend & but I have a streak of over 25 years of receiving in our Catholic Religion communion weekly,” he wrote.Read More
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Though Vitale is vulnerable and honest in his social media posts about some of the painful aspects of fighting cancer, he also models a relentlessly positive mindset. The announcer’s enthusiasm is contagious, and he encourages his fans to embrace a positivity through his frequent motivational posts.
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But Vitale’s cancer journey has not been easy, and his progress toward health has not been linear. He underwent multiple surgeries to remove melanoma over the summer. Just when the announcer was cleared and he thought he was out of the woods, he received his second sobering diagnosis. “What’s evident is that the treatment plan for this lymphoma is going to be a lot tougher, and in both cases, early detection played an important role in helping to manage the cancers,” he said.
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Vitale frequently invites his fans along on his faith journey, asking for prayers as he approaches treatment or testing. In a Tweet posted today, Vitale wrote, “Need ur (prayers) as I am heading for bloodwork so my medical staff can evaluate my blood counts / yes this becomes a way of life for cancer patients fighting to be cured.”
Vitale’s tweet from last weekend included a picture with the deacon from his parish visiting his home to deliver mass. Vitale used the occasion to remind his followers that they can have communion brought to them if they are too sick to leave the house.
Through all the challenges Vitale has faced this year, his faith has helped him hold on to optimism and gratitude.
“I consider myself very lucky,” the announcer wrote. “I’ve seen firsthand the devastation that cancer can have on families, on children, and on all of our loved ones. It can bring you to your knees. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting. It robs you of so many things, including life itself for some of the most unfortunate patients. I never lose sight of that, and that’s why I feel so lucky.”
The Power of Faith in Fighting Cancer
During a cancer fight, it’s important to find ways to cope with the complex web of feelings you may be experiencing.
In fact, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 69% of cancer patients say they rely on their faith to get them through cancer treatment and pray for their health.
For many people, turning to faith has helped them keep their spirits high and continue fighting through cancer. This was the case for ovarian cancer survivor Monica Layton, whose church congregation helped her both spiritually and physically as she battled cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic and then went through recovery.
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“[I’ve] gone to the same church for a long time, so it’s like another family that really supports me,” Layton told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “We’re Episcopalian, and when I was having surgery my priest came to the hospital and stayed and prayed with my family the whole time—and it was a long surgery. And then he came back to the hospital every day to pray with me.”
In addition to praying for her, Layton’s church also sent gifts of encouragement such as flowers, cards, a prayer blanket, and constant visits. No matter where she was, Layton constantly felt supported by the people in her church. “They were so kind. I think my faith has been very important, crucial for me. Just the prayer really helps, I think,” Layton said.