When Canada’s snowboarder and Olympic athlete Max Parrot was diagnosed with Hodgkinʼs lymphoma last December, a blood cancer that affects white blood cells in the lymphatic system, he knew he had a tough challenge ahead.
To treat his cancer, Olympic athlete had surgery and went through six months of chemotherapy. He says it was a gruelling experience, but he got through it with the support of his family, friends and fans. Last summer, he was declared cancer-free and with permission from his doctors, he returned to what he loves most – competing.
“My doctor told me that I was cancer-free and I could start training again,” Parrot says. “Since they know Iʼm a professional athlete, they know I might be training harder than others because thatʼs the only thing I have to do every day. So they made me pass some more tests just to make sure the chemo didn’t affect anything else in my body.” Less than two months after he was declared cancer-free, Parrot returned to the podium by winning gold in men’s snowboarding big air event at the X Games in Norway.
According to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC), more than 43,300 Canadians are living with or are in remission from either Hodgkin’s lymphoma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The disease affects people from all walks of life – even elite athletes – and is most common among people 15 to 30 years old. Today, because of research advances, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treatable, especially in its early stages. It has a more than 90 percent survival rate.
In 2019, while Parrot was still going through treatment, he partnered with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada to help raise awareness and funds for Canadians affected by blood cancer. He participated in the organization’s annual flagship event Light The Night Walk, which generates the lion’s share of funding for blood cancer research and community programs. Last year, thanks to fundraisers and donors across the country, Light the Night raised over $6.6 million. While Canadians will not be walking together this year due to COVID-19, Light The Night fundraising teams are actively working to raise money for research and community services. To celebrate their achievements, honour community heroes and remember loves ones lost, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada will host a national Light The Night broadcast event on October 24, 2020.
After cancer diagnosis, Parrot is living life to the fullest. He has returned to training six days a week and is excited to be the co-owner of Brasserie Moderne No 7, a new restaurant in the Montreal area. Parrot continues to raise awareness and funds to help support more than 127,000 Canadians affected by the disease.
Those newly diagnosed, people in treatment and those navigating life after a blood cancer need support at every step of their blood cancer experience. To help accelerate blood cancer cures and ensure that critical programs and services are available to those who need it, visit LightTheNight.ca