Chesapeake baseball player striking out cancer

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by LaSalle Blanks, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on July 12, 2013 at 6:42 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 13 at 10:14 PM

NORFOLK- Usually, a baseball pitcher's wins come on the field, but Mark Young's win came off the diamond.

In 2006, Mark was a promising pitcher at Norfolk State University.  He was even scouted by the New York Mets. That is, until his parents noticed a lump in the back of his neck. They urged Mark to see a doctor. That same night, The Chesapeake man was diagnosed with brain cancer.

"The first thing that went through my mind was, am I going to die?," he recalled.

Mark battled to stay alive and his parents were with him during every moment.

Dreams of a professional baseball career were put on hold. 

Thanks to his mom, Penny Young, and the folks at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters and Virginia Oncology, Mark learned to walk, talk, and do simple, everyday things again.

Mark was 21 years old. Penny had to help him take showers, dress and feed him and her love helped pull him through.

"You don't give up and I didn't give up on him," Penny said.

Mark didn't give up on himself, thanks in large part to some valuable friends - some at Norfolk Apostolic Church, where the power of prayer gave him inner strength, and his trainer at One Life Fitness Gym in Norfolk.  Jackie helped him build his physical strength.

With their love and encouragement and a leg brace for support, Mark recently pulled off a great accomplishment -- he ran on his own for the first time in more than six years.

"I was like, 'I'm doing it! I'm doing it!'" Mark said.

Mark is cancer free and back on his feet again. His buddies have a jersey waiting for him when he can join their recreational softball team. It's not the major leagues, but being able to get back on any pitcher's mound is Mark's dream now. 

He hopes his story will inspire others dealing with their own battles with cancer.

"Battle. Don't take things for granted," Mark said. "That's one thing I really want to get across, is never give up."

 

 

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