152 Comments

I nearly died from stage IV colon cancer 8 years ago. Had two bowel surgeries, probably the same chemo as Joel, and metastisized liver cancer. Plus I was/am a Pastor. However, I am a Duck so I've got that going for me. 😁

Great story John, tell Joel I'm praying for him.

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John, you asked a powerful rhetorical question -- how does one engage with someone who’s struggling? Lean into, or stay away from, the struggle?

You also answered it, powerfully. You engage with authenticity and humanity, and you trust your gut. As you did here. It’s a blessing that Pastor Joel has walked through the fire and emerged free of the cancer. It’s at least as big a blessing that he’s had you around to take the walk with him.

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This diehard Husky fan and six year breast cancer survivor LOVED this John. Thank you for sharing!!!

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Awesome story with an ending that brought tears to my eyes.

And a couple of great quotes from Pastor Joel:

“Sports are about making memories… relational connections… friendships formed… and learning to be a team.”

-- Joel Dombrow, pastor

“Not all that happens to us is good — but it can all be used for good.”

--Joel Dombrow, pastor

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Great story and so well-written. You frequently provide much-needed perspective, and this is one of your best.

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John. I love a well earned victory and a happy ending. Thanks for providing both. And my continued best wishes to your friend.

You remind us about what really matters. In this day and age that is equivalent to gold.

Thanks for keeping this Cougar sane during the past few months. Finding you online has provided perspective and hope. Thank you for that as well.

Always a fan.

Patricia

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As a colon cancer survivor of nine years (surgery, chemo, and lost 38 pounds that came back), and a Duck, a beautiful story. I prayed I lived long enough to see my grandson to kindergarten, and he’s now in Zgrade 4. Sometimes there are things in life more important than football.

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A bigger win than whoever wins the game tomorrow. Thanks for sharing that good news. Go Joel! Go Ducks! I will be watching the game from home where I live in New Zealand. I am a Duck alum and recovering American.

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Joel Dombrow is my favorite pastor of all time. I was very saddened when he left Oregon to rescue a struggling church in California, and then devastated when the news of his cancer arrived.

One of the finest men on the planet has endured several years of agony in the fight for his life, and emerged victorious.

Yes, there are some victories more meaningful than others.

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GOD IS GREAT!

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A recent biopsy revealed a cancerous growth on my liver. Thank you for telling us about Joel Dombrow. He is a genuine inspiration!

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Former pastor here, who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year (and who, like Joel, is getting a good report from the doctor)... What great writing, John. Thanks for regularly giving us stories about real life -- I appreciate them very much. And please tell Joel I'm praying for him... and that I'm a Duck, so clearly ONE OF US is right with the Lord!😁

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We've been praying for Joel & the family since we heard about the initial diagnosis. Have known him since his days at Rolling Hills. SO excited to hear the latest update!

Your litany of people going through struggles struck a chord with me. Earlier this month we got to celebrate the incredible event of our daughter getting married. Wonderful event, wonderful venue, and we love our new son-in-law immensely. My mother passed away the same day. She was 88, had been slowly deteriorating for about 10 years, accelerating over the past 5. We knew it was coming and she lived a good, long life. But grief is not fun.

Keep on staying with us Joel!

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What a great column and as you pointed out ... the game is merely a conduit to great memories of football friendships and family. My father and I went to every game in Berkeley, CA for about 15 years and I grew up a huge Cal Bears fan. When my father died, I sprinkled his ashes across Memorial Stadium Field ... and another favorite location of ours ... Golden Gate Fields Racetrack. I agree with your assessment of the game, as I believe in Bo Nix, he illustrates what adversity builds in a QB, Mental Toughness. Go Ducks!

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Amen to that! Really touching piece John...thanks!

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Once again, you got me. Brought a tear to my eye! Thank you!

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