How Cancer survivor Tyler McGregor fought back to become a Paralympic champion


Tyler McGregor started playing hockey at age three. At 15, he was starting his minor midget year with the Huron-Perth Lakers. It was his OHL draft year and the skilled McGregor looked to be on his way there—and possibly even further.

But in his first tournament of the season, McGregor took a minor check and broke his left leg in two places. Still, after his surgery, he was walking within a month and skating a few weeks later.

“Recovery was going great and I started to practice with the team again, but around that time, I noticed a bump below my left knee,” says McGregor, who grew up in Forest, Ont.

“Four months after the break, I went in for a check-up to get the go-ahead to start playing again with full contact. The bump had grown quite large and an X-ray showed a significant amount of the bone in that area was gone. The titanium rod they had put in during surgery was what was supporting my leg.”

McGregor was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma, a form of soft tissue cancer. A week after his diagnosis, he was told the cancer had spread to his lower leg and, to save his life, he needed to have his leg amputated.

He was most devastated by the thought that he’d never play hockey again.

“It was far more difficult to comprehend losing my leg and never being able to play hockey again than to hear I had cancer,” says McGregor, now 24. “When I heard I had cancer, I thought I would do chemotherapy and be healthy again and be back on skates. At 15, I had little knowledge of what cancer entails. I was completely devastated at the thought of never playing hockey again.”

McGregor had surgery to remove his left leg above the knee. He spent …read more

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