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International judo star doesn’t want to lose sight of cancer’s end

IU Health Simon Cancer Center

International judo star doesn’t want to lose sight of cancer’s end

After initial treatment at another hospital, Evan Paige is a patient of IU Health - hoping to get his cancer in remission.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes,

Inside his hospital room at IU Health Simon Cancer Center, Evan Paige passes the time playing video games. Outside, cars driving along Michigan Street beep their horns as they pass by.

Paige, 22, doesn’t know it but just steps outside his window is a hot pink sign decorated by two bright pinwheels that reads: “Honk if you hate cancer.”

“I don’t know where the sign came from but it’s pretty great that someone would take the time to post something like that outside the cancer center,” said Paige’s mom, Kelly Paige. She's been staying with him since he was admitted and doesn’t plan to leave his side.

“You’re standing in the presence of an international judo star,” said Kelly of her son. She enrolled Evan and his sister, Hannah, in judo when Evan was 6-years-old. Since then, he’s competed in every state from Washington to Maine, said his mother. He traveled to South America to compete in the Pan Am Games and earned a silver medal in his division.

“When they started it wasn’t about competition. Judo isn’t an aggressive form of martial arts. It’s about integrity and respect, but when he started competing, he caught the bug,” said his Kelly.

She adds that her son has rarely been sick a day in his life.

But last Fall, when Evan complained of pain in his right side, test showed he has testicular cancer. Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles (testes), located in the scrotum. It is rare but the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35.

After undergoing chemotherapy at another hospital, Evan’s oncologist recommended he meet up with IU Health’s Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, known for his successful treatment of testicular cancer - germ cell tumors - using a mix of high dose chemotherapies and peripheral stem cell transplant.

“I have to say he’s a pretty cool guy. He gets straight to the point is pretty down to earth,” said Evan, who will remain inpatient for about four weeks.

In addition to Judo, wrestling was another one of Evan’s passions. He also likes cruising in his prized car and hopes to pursue a career in the automobile field. As a reminder of his goals, he has a tattoo on his left arm that reads: “Don’t lose sight.”

“Never in a million years did we expect to hear this diagnosis, but I have to say my son has been an absolute trouper,” said Kelly. “He’s stronger and braver than he realizes.”

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