Former San Antonio Spurs player Dwyane Schintzius was recently honored for his courageous battle against leukemia since 2008 by the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. Though he had to be duped into attending his own award ceremony:
Dwayne Schintzius came to the event expecting to watch his father, Ken, receive an award for his work with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s alumni association. It was an elaborate ruse, though, just to get Dwayne there so he could be given a special award for courage.
The initial diagnosis came on Sept. 11, 2009, and doctors ordered him to the hospital immediately. Ken had just returned from Ohio, where his brother was being treated for cancer, when he heard about his son.
Dwayne spent 109 days at Moffitt and was in an induced coma for 18 of those. The treatment has left Schintzius with neuropathy in his feet and other complications. He lost his fingernails and most of his hair, and he has skin irritation. But after losing more than 50 pounds while fighting the disease, Schintzius is getting stronger and healthier all the time.
“People are giving me an award, I guess, for fighting for my life,” he said. “I don’t deserve the award. The people at Moffitt are the ones who are the true heroes. They saved my life.”
Schintzius played for the Spurs from 1990-1991 after being drafted at 24 in the 1990 NBA Draft. Though he did not have a spectacular NBA career and dealt with many off-the-court incidents while in the NBA and at Florida, it’s great to see him overcome this battle with leukemia with the help of his brother Travis who donated his bone marrow to give Dwaye a chance to defeat his illness.
Now Dwayne is leukemia free and looking toward a fruitful life.