A week after receiving the Jimmy V Perseverance ESPY Award, presented by Vice President Biden, where he delivered an emotional speech about his cancer battle, NBA Sideline Reporter Craig Sager again exhibited his attitude as keynote speaker at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Atlanta Blood Cancer Conference. Sager was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2014. He announced this past march that his cancer is no longer in remission.
Speaking before hundreds of blood cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, family members and healthcare professionals, Sager spoke about the importance of faith and hope. When told of his terminal cancer diagnosis, Sager says he couldn’t imagine what it would do to his spirit, but found it summoned “the greatest appreciation of life possible. I’ve been able to touch people’s lives in ways I never dreamed possible, and my battle has now become our battle.” Sager feels he is fighting for everybody who has cancer and for those in the future. “Because none of us want to see another family go through what our families have endured,” he said.
Dr. Louis DeGennaro, LLS president and CEO, presented Sager with LLS’s Dr. William Dameshek award. Dr. Dameshek was a giant in blood cancer research; in 1946 he helped pioneer what was widely considered the first anti-cancer chemotherapy, and he served on LLS’s National Board. According to Dr. DeGennaro, “The Dameshek Award, established in 1969, recognizes an organization or public figure who has aided LLS in helping focus national attention on the blood cancers.” DeGennaro thanked Sager for sharing his cancer journey with his fans and the general public. “You have provided hope and encouragement, and become an inspiration for so many.”
To highlight his message of hope, Sager recalled a Doris Day song from his youth. With a chuckle, he began singing “He’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes, he’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes” as the audience sang along