Talk about determination.
Swimmer Eric Shanteau is heading to Beijing to complete in the Olympics. But, what makes his story different is that he'll be competing while battling with cancer.
Turns out the 24 year-old first learned about his illness just a week before the Olympic trials in Omaha, Nebraska. That's when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
But, after getting clearance from his doctors, he was allowed to compete in the meet which - thanks to his win - allowed him to make the team.
His doctors have advised him to have surgery now, though, but the determined athlete is intent on getting operated after his return from Beijing.
Shanteau says, "If I didn't make the team, the decision would have been easy: Go home and have the surgery. I made the team, so I had a hard decision. But, by no means am I being stupid about this."
Eric has promised to drop out of the Olympics if there's any sign that the cancer is starting to spread.
As for the day he received his diagnosis, Shanteau says, "It almost numbed me. I'll remember that day for the rest of my life. Talk about a life-changing experience. That's as big a one as you can have, I think. You're changed for the rest of your life. The few people I've talked to who've gone through this, and they're all much, much older than I am, say I'll know that even more in 10 years."
Eric has now decided to go public in the hopes that his story will inspire others.
He's even received word from Lance Armstrong, who - as you recall - overcame cancer himself.
Shanteau says, "Lance's agent told my coaches that I'm the closest thing to Lance Armstrong that there is on the planet right now. If I can have a fraction of the impact that he's had, just a tiny little bit, then I think what I'm going through will be good."
Let's hope his cancer doesn't spread and he makes it through surgery just fine.
And if he happens to win a gold medal, even better.
[Photo via Getty Images.]