Oregon wrestler overcomes rare cancer to return to state tournament

Ben Rohrbach

Last winter, as he wrestled through four rounds of Oregon's Class 5A state wrestling tournament, Richard Bylund felt something wrong with his throat.

Corvallis (Ore.) High senior Richard Bylund has overcome a rare form of cancer to return to the state wrestling tournament -- Facebook

Soon afterward, he couldn't breathe, and in May he was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma, a rare and sometimes deadly form of cancer first discovered in Africa.

Less than a year later, the Corvallis (Ore.) High senior has fought his back into this weekend's state wrestling tournament in more ways than one, Albany's Democrat-Herald detailed.

“It’s like wrestling,” Bylund told the paper. "You’ve just got to keep going. Things kind of blur together when you’re lying around in a room.”

This past Saturday, Bylund defeated Silverton (Ore.) High's Randy Stocker, 15-7, at the Mid-Willamette Conference district championships to earn a chance to compete for the Class 5A state championship in the 170-pound division.

Not only did Bylund spend the summer before his senior year of high school in and out of the hospital undergoing treatment at two-week intervals, he couldn't play football this past fall due to concussion symptoms, according to the Democrat-Herald feature. He played both fullback and linebacker for the Spartans as a junior.

“It’s remarkable, because even when he was in stage three, he never had a negative attitude,” Corvallis wrestling coach Ron Sather explained to the paper. “It’s just amazing, his drive and his determination.”

If that's any indication of how he'll perform in the state tournament, where he's ranked No. 3 in his weight class, Bylund's opponent this weekend better be prepare to be pinned.

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