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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Rugby player Edwin Morales in recovery, back on campus after kidney cancer treatment

Photo by Maryam Tunio
Edwin Morales. Photo by Maryam Tunio.

Doctors found a football-sized cancerous tumor on student Edwin Morales’ kidney in 2014, two weeks into his junior year. Within a few days, Morales returned to his hometown of Los Angeles to undergo major surgery. These days, he’s back on campus and cancer free.

“It all happened really fast which gave me less time to think about it,” said Morales, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences. His 22-week recovery process included intervals of chemotherapy treatment that took almost a year to complete.

“I’m feeling better every day,” Morales said. “I’m still really weak and tired, but I had a bunch of side effects that are slowly going away.”

Morales is the men’s club rugby president, a position he gave up last year after his diagnosis. He can’t fully participate in games this season but Morales practices with the team as much as he can. The rugby team finished its season around two weeks ago with a record of 0-6.

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“I really wanted to hit but it’s OK,” Morales said about playing in games this season. “I will get back into it eventually … I just really wanted to cheer my team on.”

Morales’ team held fundraisers for him last year while he recovered in Los Angeles. They hosted an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner, sold T-shirts and created a Relay for Life team in his honor.

“It really opened my eyes to all my friends and everything that they did, without me even asking for help,” Morales said.

Morales didn’t tell his teammates many details about his condition while he recovered, but he said their support was incredible – even from the freshmen who never met him.

“He wanted to be strong by himself … he didn’t want to let us know how bad it was,” said Tim Hof, a senior in the College of Business Administration and Morales’ teammate.

Hof led the team in organizing most of last year’s fundraisers.

“(Morales) is a very positive person in general,” said Isidoro Balistreri, Morales’ teammate and a junior in the College of Communication. “I’ve never seen him sad … the chemo wears down your body but his outward expression never showed it, which was incredible.”

Balistreri studied abroad last semester during Morales’ recovery but said he kept in frequent contact with his friend, despite the distance.

Morales said his transition back to school this semester was easy. He is living in his old house with the same roommates, who are also some of his good friends.

“I just picked up right where I left off,” he said.

He will take an extra semester of classes next year to finish his pre-law degree.

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    Lori Ann DarioDec 12, 2015 at 12:47 am

    Edwin is such a wonderful, strong and caring young man. We miss him dearly back here in SoCal but are so proud that he is back at school and following his dreams. He talked a lot about school and couldn’t wait to get back to his Marquette family. Thanks for caring about and living Edwin as much as we do?