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Plymouth Raiders star DeAntoine Beasley has revealed how he beat a killer disease to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional sportsman.
Beasley was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph gland, known as Hodgkins Disease, just four years ago, while in his second year at Tennessee Tech
But remarkable determination saw the 24-year-old back on the basketball court within a year, and helping his college to back-to-back NCAA titles in
the following two years.
Beasley then made the decision to play professionally in Plymouth even though he was still in remission, returning home at Christmas to receive a
This season, the 6ft 7in Raiders' star helped the Raiders to the brink of their second NBL Conference title, before they crashed to a 118-99 defeat at
reigning champions Teesside Mohawks but has now set his sights on the play-offs.
On top of his commitments with Raiders, Beasley is also keen to pass on his message of hope to other cancer sufferers in Plymouth, and is willing to
speak to any groups who wish to hear his story.
He said: "It was tough, and I hate to say I'm glad it happened to me, but I think it made me a stronger person, and a much better person after going
"I think everything happens for a reason, and I think one of the main reasons I did make it where so many others don't was that I wanted to be a walking testimony to help others work hard and know that if you believe in yourself you can get through pretty much anything."
Beasley pointed to his love of basketball and the support of a loving family as the motivating factors for his remarkable fightback. But he pointed to his professional contract with Plymouth Raiders as the
crowning moment of his recovery.
He said: "Once someone tells you that you have cancer the first thing you think is that 'I may die', and you start to take notice of things around you - and take a whole new perspective on life.
"It was just people in around me keeping my spirits up, and wanting to play basketball so badly that motivated me, and helped me to fight my way through it."
He added: "One thing I said to myself was that I wasn't going to vomit, so the whole time I was going through chemotherapy I didn't vomit once.
"Just to have those little goals to focus and help to get through it - that to me was saying that I wouldn't give in to it.
"By the time I was diagnosed my mum was more scared than I was, as deep down I told myself that I was going to beat it."
Raiders head-coach Gary Stronach paid tribute to his remarkable player, and said Beasley's story was 'a miracle'.
He said: "When I first DeAntoine I was aware of it as on the videos I was sent there was a snippet about how remarkable his coaches said he was.
"But when I talked to the coaches about it they said he never moaned about it, and just got on with it as he was so determined to beat it."
He added: "Really it is a miracle, as it was in the lymph gland which is a tough cancer to beat.
"It just shows you that he is strong as three years ago he was seriously ill and doubted whether he could play again. He is just a wonder really."
Andy Phillips writes for the Plymouth Evening Herald
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