TRACK AND FIELD
TRACK AND FIELD
DRAMA & THEATRE
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FORMER MATCAT HADER BATTLES BRAIN CANCER
July 21, 2012Columbia Falls High School
UGF wrestler Hader battles brain cancer
10:00 PM, Jul 20, 2012 |
The Michael Hader family includes his wife, Abby, and 11-month-old daughter, Payton.
University of Great Falls wrestler Michael Hader is used to battling opponents one-on-one. The senior from Columbia Falls has done it the majority of his life, from adolescence into adulthood.
The 157-pounder and three-time national qualifier has won 83 NAIA matches in three years with the Argos, and earned All-American honors with an eighth-place finish at the 2010 NAIA National Championships.
Today, he is fighting an even bigger battle: brain cancer.
"It's a germinoma, a germ cell cancer," Hader said.
It turns out the 22-year-old Hader was born with the cancer cells already inside him. Germinoma is usually discovered by the time a child is 7-8 years old, yet something triggered the dormant cells to malignancy in the last year.
In fact, Michael's cancer was malignant long before he stepped on the mat at the NAIA National Wrestling Championships last March in Des Moines. Iowa.
"I started not feeling very well last December," Hader said. "We finally got it figured out once wrestling season was over. The doctors did a biopsy where they went up through my nose and discovered the malignant cells."
Treatment began almost immediately, with chemotherapy in Great Falls. And the disease combined with the chemo took a toll on the Biology major.
"Chemo is pretty hard on you," Hader said. "It set me back last semester, and I'll have to re-take one of my classes.
"I'd wind up missing most of the first semester this fall, so I'm going to take a year off and come back in the fall of 2013."
This also means Hader, who still has one year of eligibility left, will also miss the 2012-2013 wrestling season.
Hader lives in Ulm with his wife Abby and 11-month-old daughter, Payton.
"They are my world," Hader said.
He still has two more chemotherapy sessions in Great Falls, with one week on the treatment and three weeks off (Hader estimates another 7-8 weeks), before he has to travel to Seattle for four weeks of radiation therapy.
"Five days a week; every day except Saturday and Sunday," Hader said of the coming radiation treatments.
"The doctors have told him there's an 85 percent chance of total remission once the treatments are done," UGF wrestling coach Caleb Schaeffer said.
The UGF wrestling team will be holding a fundraiser for their stricken teammate this afternoon at 4 p.m. outside the McLaughlin Center on the school's campus. Schaeffer says there will be a pig roast ($10 a plate), silent auction, and "cow bingo," among other activities. Proceeds will help to offset Hader's medical expenses as well as his transportation and lodging costs in Seattle.