boys basketball

Athlete battling terminal cancer and new wife visit Pirates during spring training honeymoon

Luke Blanock, a Canon McMillian (Canonsburg, Pa.) basketball star who is battling terminal cancer, married his girlfriend Friday night. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the two tied the knot.

“You go from being an outstanding athlete to not being able to walk out of the blue, no indication, just blindsided,” Luke’s grandmother, Rosemary Nikas, told

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Blanock suddenly lost feeling in his legs two years ago. Doctors took an aggressive approach with surgery, 14 rounds of chemotherapy, 31 radiation treatments and more chemo, according to WPXI. His cancer had gone into remission last winter, but doctors determined in December that the cancer had returned and was now terminal. A month later, Luke proposed to Natalie Britvich.

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The community pulled together the wedding in a short period of time with donations pouring in.

“We planned the entire wedding start to finish in just one month,” said Ashley Cyprowski, who plans weddings at a venue in Pittsburgh but helped the couple on her own time, told USA TODAY Sports. “We truly could not have done it without the kindness and generosity of the community. People really came together to donate their services and time. Seeing the couple so purely happy made it all worth it.”

About 200 people attended the ceremony.

The couple is honeymooning with their family in Bradenton, Fla., and toured Pirate City, the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates had previously honored Luke last April when he threw out the honorary first pitch at PNC Park.

Monday, Pirates team surgeon Dr. Patrick DeMeo invited Blanock, his wife, parents and in-laws to the complex where they took a tour, watched workouts and met with manager Clint Hurdle.

“I need to talk to him about the honeymoon idea,” Hurdle joked to the Tribune-Review. “He might want to revisit that one down the line. I’m going to give him a mulligan on this one and let him do it again so just he and his wife can get away …

“What a journey he’s been through,” Hurdle said. “He’s been through a lot, and he’s in a much better place now.”

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