By: Jennifer Hoffman
Many student athletes dream of going pro. Few actually make it, and when they get there it’s hands down their biggest accomplishment in life.
The Marquette Lacrosse and Joe Amplo coached defense man was drafted by the Dallas Rattlers in 2019 and for many guys his age that would be their biggest achievement.
But if you ask Ted he would disagree.
His biggest win, was being his sister Meg’s bone marrow donor.
That transplant saved her life.
The Goltzman’s lives were turned upside down in September of 2018 when Meg received news that would put her college cheerleading career on hold. Her initial visit to the hospital was for pancreatitis but that quickly turned into a cancer diagnosis, specifically MDS, a form of leukemia.
“I still remember saying to my parents “I don’t want to die”. I was scared and sad. My life had literally just been flipped upside down and I had no control over why this was happening to me. “ recalled Meg.
Surrounded by her parents and brother Ted, the Goltzman’s were going to do whatever they could to help their little girl beat this disease.
“Obviously you feel like you just got hit with a brick wall but my first thought was how is this cured? This is happening to me and how did this happen to my family.” Ted said.
After a few rounds of chemo, Meg’s blood count was at the perfect spot to do the bone marrow transplant that would save her life. It’s a 20% chance that siblings will match but Meg and Ted were part of that statistic. Ted was her biological match.
On December 19th 2018, Meg had her transplant. The two siblings were always close but now that bond is even stronger.
“Our relationship has definitely gotten stronger, our whole family has gotten closer. We value time more. Nobody really believes things like that can happen to them until it actually does. Things could have turned out a lot different.” said Ted.
Ted became familiar with the HEADstrong Foundation through his coach, Joe Amplo who coached Nick Colleluori at Hofstra. He made the team at Marquette familiar with Nick’s story and the program has always participated in Lax Stache and Go Lime. “HEADstrong has grown and got the cause out there. You see it at NCAA events. It brings teams together and gives them a reason to grow. It starts the conversation about what HEADstrong does. It’s cool to see how it’s grown, a big time organization that helps a lot of people. “ Ted said.
The cancer diagnosis didn’t just affect Meg but it had an impact on the entire family. The Goltzman’s spent their holidays in the hospital room, spent birthdays by her bedside and had 30 minutes a day together to spend as a family. “You lost 8 months, you didn’t go on vacation, your life changes and you didn’t really realize it while it’s happening.” said Alan, Meg’s Dad.
“You don’t think about things like that. We didn’t get stressed out about it, we just went through it every day. Stayed positive. We are some of the lucky ones. “
For Meg, the hardest part of her cancer journey wasn’t losing her hair or constantly being dizzy and sick. For her it was seeing what her friends were doing and not being able to be there with them. “While I was stuck in the hospital or even after I was released and stuck at home for 6 months I was watching my friends go out, celebrate each other’s birthdays, attend school events, and even just get to go to school. I remember saying to my mom “I didn’t think I would ever say these words but I miss school.” Meg said.
In just a few days Meg will have her one year check up but so far so good. The Communications Major at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota is getting back on track and knows this is just one chapter in her journey. A chapter that she hopes can turn into a career after graduation as she hopes to one day work with people, learn their stories and make a difference.
“Through all of this I have learned that you have to take every opportunity that is thrown your way. You can take nothing or anyone for granted because you never know what the next day holds. I have also learned through everything I have gone through is you need to be able to adapt, you need to learn to go with the flow and not be stuck in your ways.” stated Meg.