Lohman winning bout with cancer

Published 4:35 am Wednesday, October 15, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
John Lohman is fearless on the soccer field.
The 5’8”, 130-pound senior is typically one of the smaller guys on the field, often giving away four-to-five inches and 40-to-50 pounds to opponents who guard him.
However, Lohman isn’t intimidated. The spunky Pam Pack forward isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and bump and grind with bigger defenders, or charge hard after a ball with a goalie bearing down him.
After all, Lohman’s had to face bigger challenges than ones he constantly faces on the soccer field each fall.
In November of 2003, Lohman began to feel ill and was experiencing flu like symptoms. He was tired all the time, out of breath easily, and his throat was soar. A short time later, he began to notice a golf-ball size lump under his arm and he and his parents began to fear the worst.
So, his parents took him to the doctors just to be safe.
Shortly after Christmas, the Lohman’s fears were confirmed. Twelve-year old John was battling Hodgkins disease, a form of cancer that attacks the lymph nodes of roughly 1,700 American adolescents each year.
Thankfully, the doctors caught it early and gave Lohman a great prognosis. When caught early, the survival rate of Hodgkins patients is 98 percent.
Though Lohman Jr. had Stage 2B Hodgkins, which means he had cancer in more than one lymph node, doctors at East Carolina University Medical Center believed that they had caught the disease fairly early.
The only bad news, Lohman Jr. would have to endure six months of chemotherapy.
In late April of 2004, doctors delivered the terrific news, the Hodgkins disease had gone in to remission.
After missing a season of soccer in seventh grade, Lohman got his wish and returned to the soccer field in the spring of 2005, picking right up where he left off as one of P.S. Jones Middle School’s top scorers.
He spent the next two years playing for the Pam Pack’s junior varsity team and last August made the varsity squad.
But less than five minutes into his varsity soccer career, bad luck plagued Lohman Jr. once again.
The Washington forward had his first scoring opportunity a short time after the whistle blew in the season-opener against Northeast.
As he charged towards the goal, the Northeast goalie closed in on him. Lohman Jr. chipped the ball over the goalies head, to the side of the goal. But a tenth-of-a second later, the goalie collided with Lohman Jr. and a loud crack echoed across J.G. “Choppy” Wagner Stadium. The goalie had kicked Lohman Jr. directly in the shin, breaking his leg and ending his junior season.
This fall, Lohman Jr. returned for his senior season.
Finally healthy again, the 17-year old has quickly blossomed into a star.
Lohman Jr. has scored 15 goals and recorded 17 assists on the season.
But perhaps his greatest attribution his knack to draw penalty kicks. Lohman Jr. has been fouled 12 times in the penalty box and drawn 12 penalty kicks.
Lohman hopes to continue his soccer career in college, but has yet to make a college choice.
Later today, the Pam Pack forward will play in his final regular season home game against New Bern and will be honored as one of three seniors during the Pam Pack’s senior night.
Lohman, the Pam Pack’s only senior starter, will look to help Washington pick up its seventh win in its last eight games tonight.
On thing we’ve learned, a challenge is something John Lohman Jr. doesn’t back down from.