Back in October, we told the story of Juan Namnun, the head coach of the championship Frankford High School baseball team who was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy.
The Inquirer is now back with good news. The 44-year-old father of three boys learned earlier this week that he is cancer-free.
After a battery of blood tests and chest scans, Namnun sat down with his oncologist on Monday morning to learn whether the surgery and chemotherapy worked. His doctor proclaimed victory.
“He lowered his face mask and said, ‘My friend, your cancer is not here anymore,’” Namnun said. “I was in shock and I said, ‘Can you say that again?’ He wheeled himself around from behind his desk, got up and put his arm around me and said, ‘You are in full remission.’”
Namnun and his wife, Lena, erupted in tears of joy. When the couple got back to their South Jersey home that afternoon, Namnun’s wife took a photo of him wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the word “survivor” while holding up a “certificate of achievement” from his oncologist congratulating him on making it to remission.
Namnun tweeted, “As of this morning, I’ve kicked cancer’s ass!!!!”
Namnun received high-profile support after he went public in The Inquirer to detail his battle against breast cancer in hopes of raising awareness and urging men to check for lumps and take action.
In late October, Good Morning America correspondent Will Reeve surprised Namnun with tickets to Game 4 of the Phillies World Series. With TV cameras rolling inside Frankford’s gym, the school’s cheerleaders and the Phillie Phanatic rallied around Namnun, who was visibly stunned and emotional.
The Philadelphia Eagles also honored Namnun during the team’s game against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 16. The showdown, dubbed by the NFL and the American Cancer Society’s as the “Crucial Catch” game, unfolded during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and was aimed at promoting early detection of the disease. First Lady Jill Biden joined Namnun and other cancer survivors on Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles won, 26-17.
Namnun said he now feels like he won big. On Monday evening, after his doctor’s appointment, his family went out to a local restaurant near their home in Delran, N.J., to celebrate his triumph over cancer. Namnun said he’s not much of a drinker, but he took a few sips of champagne.
He toasted his health with his sons and wife. “It was pretty spectacular,” he said.
- Frankford High baseball coach who had double mastectomy: ‘I’ve kicked cancer’s ass!’
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