Eddie Cramer, Rhabdomyosarcoma

As a high school senior in Crowley, Louisiana, Eddie Cramer was on top of the world. He was captain of the football team, had a great girlfriend and college scholarship offers were rolling in—but there was an odd lump in his scrotum that was about to derail everything. “I was a typical 18-year old,” he says, “more interested in what to do on Friday night than anything else.”

He ignored the lump for four months before going to his doctor. Another four months would pass before a biopsy was performed. Eddie remembers well the day they got the pathology results. ”I answered the phone and then handed it to my mother,” he says. “Her face dropped, and I immediately knew I had cancer.” Eddie went for a long walk in the fields of the family farm. “I was very upset, but finally decided that I would trust God and accept whatever this meant. Never before or since then have I experienced such a moment of peace.”

A CAT scan showed the cancer had spread to his abdomen and lung. He went through a year of chemotherapy and radiation, only to have the cancer re-appear six months later, which required surgery and another year of chemo.

Eddie’s Catholic faith was strengthened by his cancer experience, but it also forced him to make a tough decision. Since treatment would probably leave him sterile, Eddie’s doctor discussed sperm banking, which is prohibited by the Catholic Church. “If I’m really going to be a good Catholic, how could I not accept the church’s stand on sperm banking?” he reasoned.

In the end, his faith was rewarded with the birth of a baby boy in 2004. “It’s easy to accept God’s will when life is good,” he says, “but cancer brought me to a more personal phase of my life and faith.”

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