He saved two lives

‘There was no quit in him.’

He knew he was playing his final season in football, and he was going to enjoy every last bit of it. He had felt it. He had known it. But still he had decided to keep going.

He had played his final game against the team ranked number two in the league and they had won it valiantly. It was later talked of as the ‘game of the century.’

It surprised many when they saw him, only a week after that final game, using crutches to walk and missing one leg. Amputated below his left knee.

Freddie Steinmark had played the 1969 season with a tumor, in his left leg, the size of a softball.

He had cancer.

Amidst all the darkness cast by the disease as it spread, Freddie decided to live the rest of his life with passion. He gave motivation speeches across the country, played golf on one leg, played the piano and proposed to his high school sweet heart who replied “yes”.

Despite his inspiring fight, he died.

* * * * * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * *

About eight hundred miles away Alice, a 30 year old mother and loving wife, read Freddie’s story in the newspaper. As she read on, her hand unconsciously drifted to her left ankle that bore a mysterious lump, which for a while now had only kept swelling and was accompanied by pain. She wondered if she had the same type of cancer as Freddie did.

A visit to the doctor proved her suspicions to be true. But they also brought surprising news which at another time would have been great news.

She was pregnant.

She needed surgery to have her leg amputated, but if she got the surgery, the baby would not survive. She needed to abort, the doctors advised.

“You can take my leg, but you can’t take my baby,” resisted Alice.

In the heated back-and-forth, she learned a grim truth. Even without an abortion, she stood a one percent chance of surviving more than one year after the amputation.

Friends advised her to have the abortion.

Alice stuck with her decision. She agreed to have the surgery without aborting her unborn child.

Four months later, Geoff was born. And Alice lived on to see him get married and have a child of his own.

“Freddie didn’t save one life,” Geoff later says, “He saved two.”

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