03
August
2015
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10:00 AM
Europe/Amsterdam

Chiefs safety Eric Berry is cancer-free, but he won't forget those who have it worse

Before Eric Berry heard the best news of his life, he went to visit some strangers. He knew they had it worse. He thought he could help. Hoped he could, anyway. That was enough.

So the most famous cancer patient in the NFL went to Children's Mercy Hospital to speak with children fighting chronic and life-altering diseases, and their parents.

You know some of this story. The other day, Berry announced to the world that he is cancer free, just eight months after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. His mother sat to his left and cried. His father sat to his right and beamed. But the most inspiring part of this story remains mostly hidden.

There are no good types of cancer. This is not a fight anyone chooses. But Berry's diagnosis was relatively positive, right from the beginning. Hodgkin lymphoma responds well to chemotherapy, and Berry had some of the best doctors in the country working with him.

So Berry was not just being humble when he talked of others having it worse. He was being honest, and more than that, he was speaking from experience. He has always made a particular effort to reach out to fans and strangers going through crises. His diagnosis and recovery now provide him the context and an even bigger platform to help.

He knew this a thousand different ways, including from that day at Children's Mercy with his mother. They sat on a stage, there to talk a room of 50 or 60 parents and kids and doctors.

Someone asked if they ever wondered, Why me? This hit Carol particularly hard. In the fall of 2013, her twin boys' best friend died from what appeared to be a routine hit in a football game. A few months later, the Berrys' house - the one that Eric and his little brothers grew up in - burned down.

A year after that came Eric's diagnosis. Carol is a woman of faith, and believes that God doesn't put more on any of us than we can handle, but, yeah, there were times she wondered why she and her family were being given so much.

Brad Warady, Children's Mercy director of dialysis and transplantation, was in the room and says Eric's answer was much different.

"No, I've never wondered that," Warady remembers Berry saying. "I've got it, they diagnosed it, and now I have to deal with it and move on."

Around the room, parents and their sick kids nodded their heads. Some were crying. Others smiling. The doctors could not have been happier. This is exactly what they want their patients to hear, and Berry is exactly the kind of person they want saying it.

Read more via Kansas City Star