Shanteau will be in Newton on Saturday, Sept. 7 to share his story of overcoming cancer and completing his dream of getting an Olympic gold medal. He will speak at the One Day for Every Day conference on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at the Boston Marriott Newton, 2345 Commonwealth Ave, Newton, form 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Eight days after returning from the Beijing Olympics, Shanteau started treatment for testicular cancer. Within a year he was back competing at the highest level, and returned to the Olympics. Shanteau earned gold as a member of the 4 x 100 medley relay in London.
Patch asked Shanteau about his experience overcoming cancer.
Patch: What was the hardest part about your come back after getting cancer?
Shanteau: Swimming in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing while battling untreated testicular cancer was one of the scariest moments in my life, but it was also a time when I beat my own personal record and achieved my life-long dream. Battling cancer left me with a new perspective on life and an increased sense of personal strength that I channeled throughout my training for the 2012 Olympics. My goal had always been to medal in the Olympics, and my experience with cancer has left me more motivated than ever to achieve my dream. My journey to the 2012 Olympics in London is one that I am very proud of, and winning the gold alongside my teammates was an incredible experience.
Patch: What is your advice for people facing challenges such as cancer or MS?
Shanteau: My advice and what helped me when battling testicular cancer in 2008 while competing in the Summer Olympics in Beijing is that information is key. I asked my doctors, researched online and talked to my friends and family about my options. That’s why I’m looking forward to sharing my story with people living with multiple sclerosis at the One Day for Every Day event in Boston on Saturday, September 7, which is specifically for people with MS and their care partners. Although I myself do not have MS, I can relate to many of the challenges people living with this disease face. People with MS are diagnosed at the prime of their lives and I myself was diagnosed with cancer at what I feel was the prime moment of my life, right before competing in the 2008 Olympics. I am looking forward to sharing my story to hopefully inspire conference attendees to think about what may be possible for them, living with MS. If you or someone in your life has MS, come see me speak at this free conference. It’s a great chance to ask questions, hear from local experts and physicians, and talk to others who share the same experience. Visit www.1DayforEveryDay.com to register and learn more.
Patch: Do you have advice for talking to family, friends and co-workers about having cancer, MS or another disease?
Shanteau: From my experience, it’s important to talk openly with friends and family, so that you have a support system and people understand what you’re going through. In fact, one of the topics that will be covered at the One Day for Every Day conference is finding the right words when talking to others about MS. Every person will approach that conversation differently, as I did when deciding to share my story.