GREEN BAY PACKERS quarterback Aaron Rodgers met Brandon Novack (seated, right), his brother Connor and parents Joanie and Leonard at a Dec. 4 fundraiser for Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer held at the Packers Party House near Lambeau Field.
Packers quarterback says Brandon Novack has been an inspiration
Brandon Novack of Belgium has a football he won‚Äôt let out of his sight for long.
On Dec. 4, at a ‚ÄúPack Lunch With Aaron Rodgers‚ÄĚ benefit to raise money for Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer, the Green Bay Packers quarterback took the white commemorative football and wrote, ‚ÄúBrandon, thanks for being an inspiration to me.‚ÄĚ
Novack and Rodgers spoke at the fundraiser held at the Packers Party House near Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
A story on their meeting is on the MACC Fund‚Äôs Web site.
Novack, 20, has battled T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia for eight years and has a designed a MACC Star ornament, participated in the Trek/MACC Fund bike ride and spoke at numerous events for the organization that has funded research that likely saved his life.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs one of their better success stories,‚ÄĚ his mother Joanie said.
Novack humbly tells his story whenever asked and never fails to thank the donors who make his recovery possible.
‚ÄúI talked a little bit (about his cancer fight), but mostly I addressed how if it wasn‚Äôt for the MACC Fund, I don‚Äôt think I would be alive,‚ÄĚ Novack said. ‚ÄúI thanked the people for supporting it. I told them, ‚ÄėThe MACC Fund does more than give money. It gives hope to me and all kids with cancer.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
Novack was in the seventh grade when he learned he had T-cell leukemia. He underwent 108 weeks of chemotherapy and weeks of full cranial radiation to kill the cancer cells. But the treatments also caused side effects, including brittle bones, that he‚Äôs had to deal with.
Just when it looked like everything was behind him and he could be a normal college student at a school where classmates don‚Äôt know his history, Novack started having double vision. It was Labor Day weekend and he had recently moved into his dorm at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay ‚ÄĒ his first time living away from home after completing two years at UW-Sheboygan.
He called his parents and ended up in the intensive care unit at Children‚Äôs Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa. Bleeding in his brain stem caused the double vision and weakness in his arm.
‚ÄúIt had stopped bleeding, but they wanted to keep me under observation to make sure it had stopped,‚ÄĚ Novack said. ‚ÄúThere was nothing they could do about it. They did an MRI to make sure there wasn‚Äôt any more bleeding.‚ÄĚ
He was released two days later and returned to school, but the double vision continued for two months.
‚ÄúI would close one eye to try to read,‚ÄĚ he said.
That finally cleared up, but a few days later his arm started tingling and became numb. That, too, is getting better, he said.
‚ÄúI feel good,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúIt was no big thing.‚ÄĚ
That‚Äôs the attitude he‚Äôs taken whenever faced with a new challenge in his battle with cancer and this is the next chapter, his mother said.
‚ÄúThe doctors told us there was nothing they could do about it. It was caused by the treatment that saved him,‚ÄĚ his mother said.
‚ÄúAs they‚Äôre telling us everything he could face, his attitude was, ‚ÄėOK, this is my life. What do I have to do?‚Äô It would have been so easy for him to quit many times, but he never does.‚ÄĚ
Novack is home for winter break and will return to school in mid-January to continue working on a degree in marketing with a minor in accounting.