VANIER CHEETAHS IN THE NEWS     
FRANK BRUNO CAPS HIS SEASON WITH ATHLETE OF THE WEEK AWARD
AS WELL AS A LENGTHY ARTICLE IN THE MONTREAL GAZETTE.

February 14, 2007


LIFE HAD A LESSON FOR BRUNO
Fought cancer. Receiver plays like it's his last game


Frank Bruno: plays with heart

By Arpon Basu, Montreal Gazette,

Frank Bruno's eyes lit up when he saw a fumble hit the ground five years ago. He picked it up and started running for the end zone, as he did so many times before while playing midget football for the Lakeshore Cougars.

But then, suddenly, the Kirkland resident dropped to the ground, and football took a back seat to life.

."I just fell because I couldn't breathe," Bruno, 19, recalled. "I was a little concerned after the game, so my mom took me to the hospital and they found a tumour between my heart and my lung."

Bruno was relieved to hear the doctors say the tumour wasn't cancerous and that they could remove it relatively easily. But once they did, Bruno got the devastating news that he had Hodgkin's disease, a form of cancer that attacks the body's lymph glands, which make up part of the immune system.

"It was a shock, just unbelievable," Bruno said. "It was hard. I thought I would never play football again, but I always hoped I could come back and show everyone I could still play ball."

Did he ever.

Play he did, but only after his coaches converted him from running back to receiver, a move that has paid huge dividends for Bruno.

Last season, Bruno broke a 23-year-old collegiate Triple-A league record for receiving yards with 968 on 52 catches, helping Vanier snap a 15-year drought with a Bol d'Or championship.

More recently, Bruno was the offensive captain for the Canadian squad that brought home its third straight NFL Global Junior Championship during Super Bowl week in Miami, and he committed Sunday to play next season for the Université de Montréal Carabins.


Bruno set a league record for pass receiving yards

It's hard to imagine that a mere three years ago Bruno was wondering where he stood in terms of his football future, but he says the life experience of beating cancer is what makes him so effective on the field.

"When we won the Global Junior Championship, I took five minutes to myself," Bruno said. "I always dreamed of playing for Team Canada. At 16, finding out I had cancer, I told myself I would make it anyway, and I did.


Bruno and his fellow Team Canada mates celebrate their
Global Junior Championships win in Florida on February 3rd

"What I gained from that whole experience is not to take life for granted, or even football for that matter. One play, I'm picking up a football and running it into the end zone, and the next play, I'm sitting out for two years. I think that's why I'm so good at football, because I'm aggressive and I take every play like it's my last one, because tomorrow, there may not be football any more."

© The Gazette (Montreal) 2007


URL: http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/sports/story.html?id=7d7fac24-285c-4093-bb46-209bc501cecb


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