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Marquette Wire

‘…I just feel blessed’

Marquette Student athletes held a 5k “fun run” to support Lovell through his diagnoses with sarcoma.

“You’re then faced with, you know that your days on earth are numbered- you don’t know how long that is,” Marquette University President Michael Lovell said.

August 31, Lovell announced he was diagnosed with Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

“Before I was diagnosed, you know, I felt invincible. I was healthy and strong … and when you’re diagnosed with something like that, particularly a rare form of cancer that frankly nobody really knows a lot about. You’re then faced with, that your days on Earth are numbered,” Lovell said.

The most challenging part of his diagnosis, though, Lovell said was seeing how it affected the people he cared about.

“You hate to see people around you suffer because it’s something that you’re going through,” Lovell said. “So, to me, that was the hard part.”

Lovell said he had to undergo a strong chemotherapy treatment- where he said one can only receive eight doses in their lifetime.

Lovell said with his particular treatment, most people only receive around six doses of the chemotherapy because it becomes too difficult on their body, but for him, he said he was able to make it through all eight.

Now, Lovell said he finished his chemotherapy treatment and his body has responded well to it, and he is currently going in for scans every three months.

“I’m not doing anything active— which is the first time in six months I’ve done that, because when you’re diagnosed, you just want to get this stuff out of you,” Lovell said.

Lovell said throughout his treatment and diagnosis, it can get really difficult so seeing all of the continuous support from the students, Marquette and the greater Milwaukee community has been extremely uplifting.

“Marquette is a really special place that way, and so I just feel blessed,” Lovell said. “Going through something like this in such a public way, it’s kind of hard. But in the same respect, because everyone knows that I’m going through this health challenge, they’re really all stepping forward and doing things to help me.”

Lovell also said that the support from the community has been a great source of strength for him to continue pushing with all of the support behind him.

Also noticing the communities support, Kris Ropella, Dean of the College of Engineering, said the Marquette community isn’t afraid to show their love.

“I think the compassion and care that our students show for Dr. Lovell and others on campus who are fighting challenges, such as cancer, is a testament to the tremendous love that each of us has to offer others in their time of need,” Ropella said in an email.

Despite his cancer, Lovell said every time he became anxious about his diagnosis, he turned to God. He said although he’s always prayed, his journey with cancer has helped him develop an even deeper prayer life and relationship with God.

Lovell said after receiving his diagnosis, he was faced with not knowing how many days he had left, but this allowed him to appreciate each day more.

“[It] lets you reflect on what’s really important. And so the most important thing in life is relationships, and so spending time with family and loved ones- like my holidays with my family, I’ll never take for granted,” Lovell said.

Pat Kennelly, director of the Center for Peacemaking said whenever one confronts challenges, or notices others battling issues, one has the opportunity to reflect on their own lives.

“Dr. Lovell’s courage in battling cancer has been a reminder for me to take advantage of every day and to be grateful for my family, my friends, and my faith,” Kennelly said in an email.

Lovell said he has a crate full of cards at home as well as notes, gifts and tributes surrounding his office which symbolizes constant support that he is always around.

“I’ve been able to stay positive, you know, because of the things that people have done,” Lovell said. “It’s really been a great source of strength to keep pushing on and that all of these people are behind you.”

This story was written by Julia Abuzzahab. She can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Julia Abuzzahab
Julia Abuzzahab, Executive Projects Editor
Julia Abuzzahab is a senior from Wausau, Wisconsin studying journalism and film and media studies and is the Executive Projects Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Prior to this position, she served as the Executive News Editor for the organization. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys playing piano and seeing her friends. She is most excited to see all of the work her and her team accomplish this year and spending time with her friends in the newsroom.  

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    Ida HoApr 12, 2022 at 1:35 pm

    As a Marquette grandmother, I am going through what Dr. Lovell is facing. I truly can relate to all that he is facing with my cancer diagnosis.
    Each day is a gift from God that I do not take for granted. I have so much loving support from my family, friends & people I don’t know are praying for me. My Catholic faith has kept me strong & given me so much comfort & strength.
    Thank you, Dr. Lovell, for sharing your story. It gives me great comfort to know I am not alone.
    May God bless you & your family.
    I will pray for you, too. We will fight this!

    With warmest aloha & blessings.🙏🙏🙏