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FutureStarrTrey Mancini, a Cancer Survivor, Joins the Cubs As a First Baseman
In the spring of 2020, Trey Mancini was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. This devastating news came just as he was gearing up for a season that would include extensive chemotherapy treatments and numerous missed games.
Mancini experienced a difficult time during his treatment, but was fortunate to have the support of family and friends who rallied around him throughout it. Despite all odds, Mancini persevered and eventually triumphed over cancer.
On Monday, the Cubs welcomed Trey Mancini as their new first baseman and honored his cancer scare - a life-altering experience that has given him an invaluable perspective. His power bat fills a need and his versatility is ideal for a team in rebuilding mode after two years of losses.
Three years ago, Mancini was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer and underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his body. Following that, six months of chemotherapy ensued - an experience which Mancini believes made him a better player.
He gives credit to his family, girlfriend Sara Perlman and the Orioles for helping him get through those trying days. Additionally, he appreciates all of his teammates who made this experience positive.
The treatment cycle was long and tedious. On the worst days, he'd feel hungover and miserable in himself. With little options other than eating and sleeping, he hoped the ordeal would soon come to an end.
By the time Mancini and his physician's assistant George Davis scheduled their final treatment in September, they had devised a strategy to make it easier. They'd set up a "chemo buddy," someone who could accompany Mancini to the hospital, offer emotional support and offer tips on managing symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and vomiting that might accompany chemotherapy treatment.
George Davis is Mancini's "chemo buddy", a retired two-time cancer survivor who has been instrumental in his recovery process. As an incredible friend throughout his cancer journey, they've formed an unbreakable bond that will last forever.
Mancini found the strength to battle cancer during a lengthy and challenging chemotherapy cycle. Although he did everything within his power to beat it, there were times when he felt like giving up. Ultimately, Mancini relied on family, girlfriend and teammates for support throughout each step of treatment even when it appeared that there would be no end in sight.
Now, he is using his experiences to help others, particularly fellow cancer survivors. He sent a letter of support to Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks who recently underwent treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and is encouraging other players to get tested as well.
Mancini, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in March 2020 and missed the entire COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, has been declared cancer-free. He returned to the Orioles in 2021 and was honored with an invitation to the Home Run Derby as well as American League Comeback Player of the Year honors.
When he first heard of the struggles faced by colon cancer patients under 50 years old, it took him by surprise. Although he wasn't particularly fond of the disease himself, he knew someone with it and wanted to learn more about its effects on people his age group.
Mancini sought to help those facing the same diagnosis as him by reaching out to Rena Baron, a friend of his mother's who had just completed treatment for Stage 3 colon cancer 16 months prior. They shared similar stories and were treated by Johns Hopkins' physician together.
That initial meeting, which lasted an hour and a half, proved to be a pivotal moment in their relationship. They shared their struggles and faith with one another as they grew closer, ultimately building lasting bonds.
Over the summer, they kept in touch by phone. They discussed cancer, survivorship and faith; their shared experience provided a comfort as they navigated each other's personal struggles. By being together in person during such trying times, it helped ease some of their individual anxieties.
In September, Eli and Rachel finally met in person for the first time. It was an ephemeral moment for both of them - especially Eli as she held his hand tightly during this rare exchange.
On the field, he has been an integral part of the Orioles' success this season. He has played the role of slugger and been their go-to bat, demonstrating that his cancer scare did not stop him from becoming a star and an inspiration to other cancer survivors.
Mancini's journey is far from over. There are two more significant milestones he hopes to reach this season that will serve as some of his most lasting memories.
At first, Trey Mancini was thrilled to hit balls with a bat. It made him feel like part of the world and allowed him to do something that mattered. Unfortunately, baseball soon threatened to take away all that joy.
On March 10, 2020, Mancini and his family returned from Sarasota to Baltimore for Spring Training when he received the diagnosis that would forever alter his life. A tumor had been discovered in his colon and required surgery to remove it as well as chemotherapy treatments to fight it off.
Mancini's career took an unexpected and miraculous turn when he returned from chemotherapy after missing the entire 2020 season. Despite missing six months of play due to cancer treatments, Mancini went on to win the 2021 AL Comeback Player of the Year Award - marking an amazing comeback indeed!
He's now on his third team in less than a year, and he hopes to apply those lessons to help the Cubs team emerge from its rebuild. This new squad values veteran leadership, so he hopes to use that experience to empower younger players around him to become even better leaders themselves.
These lessons may not always be easy to accept, but they're essential for everyone involved in baseball. That is why Major League Baseball holds an annual Stand Up To Cancer moment after each game and why sharing stories like Mancini's can serve to motivate others.
The story of how he returned is more intriguing than you might expect at first glance. It serves as a testament to what can happen when the right people come together at the perfect moment.
As a 27-year-old professional athlete, Mancini had no idea his cancer diagnosis would be anything more than an unpleasant surprise. He hadn't even shown signs of illness yet - how on earth did he end up with Stage 3 colon cancer?
Mancini, a cancer survivor, is one of several new veterans who began their MLB careers with the Orioles. He joined the team in 2013, hitting 102 home runs during five years for the club.
As a rookie, Mancini finished among the league's top 100 players in several metrics. He tied for fourth in home runs and third in RBIs, led the Orioles in hits, walks, and batting average, ranked fifth all-time in total bases and tied for eighth in homers.
In 2021, he earned the American League Comeback Player of the Year award and finished as runner-up in the MLB Home Run Derby to Pete Alonso of the New York Mets. Additionally, he was nominated for Roberto Clemente Award recognition by his teammates, earning him recognition among baseball greats worldwide.
Mancini earned over 548 games with the Orioles, becoming a fan favorite and part of their organization's story. His bravery has also served to inspire many to fight cancer with hope and determination.
Mancini, a native of Winter Haven, Florida and son of Tony and Berth Mancini, has been an influential member of the baseball community since his youth. He attended White Haven High School before joining other local youth baseball organizations during college.
He was selected in the eighth round of the 2013 MLB draft by the Orioles. After playing one season with Aberdeen of the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League, he moved on to play for Delmarva Shorebirds and Frederick Keys of Class A-Advanced Carolina League.
Mancini made his Major League debut against the Boston Red Sox on September 18th and hit a home run that same day, tying for third place among home runs with Trevor Story and Dino Restelli.
Mancini has worked to maximize his time with the Orioles by connecting with fans and teammates alike. He serves as a role model, known for his upbeat outlook.
Though the Orioles likely won't see him back on the field next season, he has made it through his battle with cancer and looks forward to returning in 2022. After telling the team that he will be ready for action again, he hopes to join their squad as a special assistant coach.