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Mark Herzlich Journal


It's surreal watching yourself on '60 Minutes.' I guess I don't understand the depth of it quite yet because I look at it and say to myself, 'OK, there's a story on Bernie Madoff, and then me. What am I doing on the same show as him?' But, unfortunately, there is a large group of people who are affected by cancer and going through cancer treatments. So for those millions of people, my story reaches them just as much as a Bernie Madoff story. I watched the special back at my place in Clifton where there is a movie theater in the basement of our apartment complex. So Tyler Sash, Spencer Paysinger, Henry Hynoski and his parents, Greg Jones and his girlfriend, and my family were all there watching in the movie theater. It was cool that all the guys were there.

In one segment, I talked about a picture hanging in my room of me playing in high school. It was a scrimmage before my junior year against Downingtown East. I was playing fullback when I got the handoff and was coming around the edge when it was taken. In high school, I was 6-foot-4, 260 pounds. I was bigger than I am now, and we were playing against a lot of little guys. So there just happened to be a picture taken as I was running, and my left leg was flexed and planted in the ground. After being diagnosed, I saw that and said 'How is that going to happen? How is that going to get better?' I just thought it was going to be good, I'll be fine.

I never saw the parts where my parents were talking before. Every time I watch my mom and my dad talk about it, it's tough because I know how much it really affected them and hurt them. I've never heard my mom talk about me running back on the field for my first game. Watching her, I was tearing up because she was so happy. When she was told I might not make it, it was the complete opposite. It was night and day between her moods.

They also played the clip when I announced on ESPN that my cancer was gone. One thing you should know is that my family is a little bit weird with the way we transfer news to and from each other. My parents got the news from the doctor that I had no more cancer cells left in my body I think two days before the announcement, and they told me seven hours after they got the news. Everybody knew that there was a lot more to go, that we weren't going to be in the clear for a long time. But that was kind of the first step. My brother didn't even know until he heard it when I was on the stage. My roommates didn't even know until they heard it while they were in the hotel getting ready for the game. I wasn't trying to hide it from anybody, but I just felt like it was a perfect time to let everybody know that I was feeling better.

That tied in well with our visit to the Hackensack University Medical Center yesterday, where all the rookies dressed up in Halloween costumes and spent time with children there. It was great seeing all the kids. I got to sit down and talk to a couple of them about their battles with cancer. All the other rookies did a great job of going around and meeting kids and putting smiles on their faces. My lunch lady costume didn't exactly work out too well. My proportions weren't really meant for the outfit so it didn't fit too well. But when you have a bunch of big NFL players walking around like Buzz Lightyear and a lunch lady and Pac-Man, you can't help but smile.

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