You wouldn’t know by most of his Facebook posts that former college diver Alex Obendorf has been fighting for his life for most of the last six months. The music-loving, always-smiling senior at West Virginia Univ. seems to sharing daily a post of a quote, a photo or a latest track that will put a smile on anyone’s face.
Yet lately Obendorf’s eyes look just a little darker in photos. He’s always wearing a hat. The BPM on the songs he shares is just a little slower. While his attitude continues to be an inspiration, even he couldn’t help but mark his emotion as “disappointed” four weeks ago when he posted his latest news:
“Today was supposed to be my last chemotherapy treatment,” he wrote. “Unfortunately yet again I’ve been hospitalized with a fever, and need blood transfusions. Hopefully I’ll be able to put this chapter of my life to an end soon.”
That chapter started with the revelation from his doctor in July that Obendorf had testicular cancer. He soon had surgery to remove a mass from his body, but the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes and then on from there. Surgery has been followed by rounds of chemotherapy, which have left him weak and without hair, wearing a hat to keep warm.
Now, as the holidays approach, he is facing more surgeries to remove more masses in his abdomen and lymph nodes.
“It has been one of the toughest challenges I’ve faced both physically and mentally,” Obendorf told Outsports. “I have been able to remain strong, and keep a positive attitude despite my circumstances.”
While he has insurance, the medical bills are still piling up. He’s also been unable to work for months due to the surgeries and chemotherapy. That’s why Obendorf is now turning to creating a gofundme page to help pay for some of the medical expenses.
Obendorf was a diver for West Virginia Univ. until recently his four years of NCAA eligibility had expired. Now he’s dealing with this unexpected battle with cancer that so few people realize can afflict even someone in his early 20s.
Obendorf is focusing on the life lessons he can take from the experience that will continue to make him stronger.
“This experience has allowed me to appreciate the little things in life, and not take things for granted,” he said. “It has shown me how much I am loved/cared about and thought of. I have received a lot of support throughout this difficult time.”
Testicular cancer is rather rare. Each year about 10,000 men in the United States are diagnosed with the condition, a minuscule 0.006% of American men. While the average age of those men is lower than most other cancers — 33 years — Obendorf is on the earliest fringe of age of diagnosis.
If you would like to help Obendorf in his struggle with surgeries and medical costs, please do visit his gofundme page.