Perhaps the most pleasant sight at Thursday’s Brainerd at St. Cloud Apollo wrestling meet was a smiling Nick Stram.
The 2012 Apollo graduate is only a few weeks removed from major surgery. He had a five-pound cancerous tumor removed from his abdomen.
“I feel good,” Stram said after Brainerd beat the Eagles 48-24.
“I feel a little pain from the surgery, but that’s about it,” he said. “Everything’s going well, as good as it could be.”
St. Cloud Tech held a Takedown for Cancer fundraiser to benefit the KARE-11 Randy Shaver Fund when the Tigers were host to Apollo and Princeton.
Just before that event was when the news of Stram’s issues broke.
He later found out that he has been diagnosed with desmoplastic small-round-cell sarcoma.
“It’s really, really rare,” he said.
It’s usually found in young males, he said, with the first known case happening in 1989. There have been about 200 other cases identified.
Chances of survival are hard to determine. Because there are so few cases, each one is viewed individually.
Stram is young, healthy and in good shape.
However, chemotherapy is required. Stram expects the chemo treatments to start in about a month when he is fully recovered from surgery.
He’s ready to get going with it, not liking the long wait. He said he had a grandmother who had a tumor when she was young. She is doing well.
Stram looked strong and healthy Thursday. He said he has lost about 25 pounds from a high of about 190. He wrestled at 152 or 160 in high school.
Surgery, he said, went really well.
Because the tumor was torn, cancer cells entered the rest of his body, he said. That’s why there is a need for chemotherapy.
Apollo coach Tim Bengtson offered to help in any way he could.
It was easy to tell Bengtson is quite fond of Stram, who was a key member during his high school career of the best wrestling teams in Apollo’s history.
The Eagles earned state Class 3A tournament berths in 2008 and ’09 and won the Central Lakes Conference championship in 2012, Stram’s senior year.
He has done well since, and has gotten married.
Wish him well.