Mark Herzlich, Boston College

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 01: Mark Herzlich #58 of the New York Giants waits for the opening kickoff against the New England Patriots on September 1, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

At Boston College games for years to come, you will see people wearing #94 Mark Herzlich jerseys. Most athletes are known for what they do or did on the field, some are more well known because of what they did off the field, but Mark is best known for what he did to get back on the field.

Mark Herzlich came to the Heights as a freshman in 2006 and played in every game that season.  By his junior season, 2008, Herzlich was getting a lot of attention before the season began and he backed it up.  With himself and the defense leading Boston College to their second consecutive ACC Championship game appearance, Mark was awarded the ACC Defensive POY award.  After the season ended, BC fans had to worry about whether Mark would be off to the NFL or back for his senior year.  But after Mark had decided to come back to school and after the NFL Draft had taken place, Mark was given some terrible news by his doctor. On May 14, 2009, Mark publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Mark Herzlich and his family knew he had a long hard battle to fight in front of him, but Mark knew it was one he would win.

Unfortunately, various forms of cancer have effected nearly everyone today. Mark Herzlich quickly became a name that people everywhere knew. Mark's story was told often because the chances that he would not win his battle were real. The chances he would not play football again were even greater.  

Herzlich immediately started touching thousands of people who previously had no connection with BC. Everyone wanted Mark to win this battle he was fighting with cancer because of the positive attitude he portrayed when on camera and the work he put in to give himself every chance for success. 

On October 3, 2009, Mark Herzlich sat in on ESPN's College Gameday to announce he was cancer free.  Mark had become so well-known for his successful fight against cancer that Gameday came to BC for a game against two unranked schools. He would also be invited to attend the NFL Draft a year and a half later despite not being considered at all a first or second round pick and ultimately going undrafted.

We'll never know how many people who have also fought cancer, fought a little harder thanks to Mark. Getting healthy after being diagnosed with cancer is a big fight that takes a lot of courage. Mark Herzlich may have helped one extra person to survive their fight or he may have helped thousands. Regardless, he is a life-saver.  

Mark Herzlich has been the poster child for Uplifting Athletes since 2009.  While the money to fund research helps, the inspiration he provided to many will always be far more valuable. To see the rest of the Buick Human Highlight Reel, and even share a story of your own, go to ncaa.com/buick.

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