Former Penn State Running Back Mike Gasparato Battling Terminal Cancer

Former Penn State running back Mike Gasparato is battling for his life after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer earlier this year. 

Although a tumor was removed when he was first diagnosed, excruciating back pain led Gasparato back to the hospital to learn that the cancer returned and quickly spread to his back, lungs, and ribs. He was told that he only had six weeks to live without treatment.

The Penn State community has been a part of Gasparato’s life since he was young. He lived in State College for many years while his late father, Dominick Gasparato, was an offensive line coach for the Nittany Lions. The elder Gasparato won a national championship in 1986 while on Joe Paterno’s coaching staff.

Mike Gasparato was a Nittany Lion from 2000 to 2004. He was a backup running back for Larry Johnson during his career at Penn State, tallying his best season in 2002 after rushing for 158 yards and a touchdown in seven appearances. The running back was forced to leave the team due to chronic injuries in 2004.

Despite his stage 3C cancer, Gasparato is still in great physical shape. He has been practicing clean eating and drinking for the last couple of years, scared that he would encounter the same fight with cancer that his father faced. 

Updates on Gasparato’s status are being shared on a GoFundMe page, which was created by his friend, Scott Lee Wade. Although his fight is not over, Gasparato’s tumor has shrunk and he is being moved out of intensive care after three weeks. He recently started his second bout of chemotherapy.

“The Gasparatos need our help,” Wade wrote on the page. “They need our prayers, they need our thoughtful encouragement, they need connections that you may have to Testicular Cancer Treatments and they need any monetary contributions that you can give to help assist in Mike’s fight for his life.

“Mike is a warrior and is ready to fight. The cancer has put him on his back, but he is going to stand up and will use his experience to help others WIN the battle against cancers that have plagued his life.”

A total of 255 donors have already pledged their support on Gasparato’s GoFundMe page, raising a total of $23,475 in just seven days.

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About the Author

Cassady Potts

Cassady is a junior English and journalism major and Onward State's Student Life Editor. She is from York, Pennsylvania and loves iced coffee, books, and women's volleyball. You can find her on campus by looking for the girl who always wears stripes. Feel free to send any questions, comments, or memes via email ([email protected]) and follow her @cassady_potts on Twitter.

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