Last February, ESPN reporter Holly Rowe announced that, for the second time in less than a year, doctors had discovered a tumor in her chest that needed to be removed immediately.

Since then, Rowe has continued to appear regularly on ESPN, even as she undergoes rounds of chemotherapy every 21 days.

And while covering a full slate of sporting events in between cancer treatments sounds impossible or at least superhuman, Rowe told The Salt Lake Tribune that it’s actually necessary for her health.

“When I say sports have saved my life, I’m not saying that as a joke or lightly,” she said. “It’s given me things to look forward to and every single event I get to, someone is winning or losing.”

Rowe tells of flying from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Salt Lake City and then to Morgantown, West Virginia in the span or two days, all because she wanted to cover a Utah gymnastics meet.

She is currently covering the women’s NCAA Tournament this season for the 12th time and will require treatment right in the middle of it. When Rowe feels scared or upset about her impending treatment, she told The Salt Lake Tribune, she cues up a highlight reel of the UConn women’s basketball team making hustle plays.

When Rowe was at a recent UConn women’s basketball practice, she saw a pregame video that showcased 20 years worth of hustle plays by the Huskies. UConn, winners of 107 consecutive games and on a quest for a fifth straight national title, sent Rowe the clip. When the fear of another upcoming chemo session sets in, she watches that clip to empower herself.

Rowe’s dedication to sports even during an incredibly trying ordeal is reminiscent of the late Craig Sager, who was jetting from event to event long into his battle with leukemia.

It’s genuinely awesome that Rowe, like Sager, is able to find strength in her job, and hopefully sports help inspire her to a full recovery.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com, the Hartford Courant, Baseball Prospectus, Land of 10 and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • chipramsey

    I’m a (currently on hiatus) sports talk radio host. We used to have Holly Rowe on our show in Mobile from time to time. What a gracious person. She does a great job on the air as well. Having watched my wife lose her battle with cancer, I know firsthand how tough it must be for Holly, yet she continues to charge forward as hard as she can. Best wishes Holly and continued success not only in your battle with cancer but in your career as well.

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