For seven years, Dave Dravecky had realized his lifelong dream of being a major league baseball pitcher – a “southpaw” for the San Francisco Giants. In 1988, he was at the top of his game when he was diagnosed with a soft tissue cancer in the deltoid muscle of his pitching arm. After surgeons cut and removed a section of his deltoid muscle, Dave was told that outside of a miracle, he would never pitch again. Unwilling to give up his dream, he fought back—and fought back hard. Just nine months after surgery, Dave once again stepped onto the mound to pitch a winning game for the Giants…his comeback ended just five days later when he threw “…the pitch that could be heard round the world.” Dave’s arm had split in two. The next years were a whirlwind of surgery, radiation, pain, depression, and eventually amputation—all in the glaring light of the media.
After the 1989 season and his retirement from baseball, Dave was presented with the Hutch Award, which annually recognizes a Major League Player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire of the legendary leader, Fred Hutchinson, who lost his own cancer battle at age 45 while managing the Cincinnati Reds.
Through his journey, Dave discovered the power of endurance and now speaks to corporations and organizations around the country to share his message of how to navigate loss and suffering, experience encouragement and hope, and evaluate our lives, goals and relationships.
Jan Dravecky may be the wife of a man with an inspirational story, but she also has a story of her own that inspires and touches the hearts of many across the United States. Jan’s husband, Dave Dravecky is known to baseball fans around the world for his dramatic 1989 comeback to the Major Leagues following cancer surgery on his pitching arm. Just as dramatic was Dave’s quick departure from baseball after the return of his cancer and the amputation of his left arm, shoulder and part of his collarbone for fear the cancer would take his life.
Soon after the amputation, Jan and Dave both found themselves suffering from severe clinical depression. Jan could no longer stuff the grief and the pain, which inevitably took a toll on her physical and mental health. Dave and Jan’s book, When You Can’t Comeback, chronicles this journey through one of their darkest valleys. Sharing their experiences of joy and despair, faith and doubt, intimacy and loneliness, this book has been able to touch the lives of readers of every age and background.
The depression and anxiety attacks Jan experienced crippled her physically as well as mentally. Her mind had gotten sick and it was seen as unacceptable which left her exhausted and guilt-ridden. At this point she felt completely alone. Turning to her faith and counseling, Jan eventually recovered and once again began to embrace the freedom that existed in her newfound joy. When she reached the other side of her valley, Jan realized that she was not the only one who had to battle this sickness of the mind. “When I was going through my depression, I thought I was the only one”, Jan says. “I share my story so other women will know they are not alone.”
Jan tells her personal fight against depression in her book, A Joy I’d Never Known. This book enables readers to journey with Jan through her dark and sometime frightening valley to find them encouraged by the hope and joy Jan found.
Due to the overwhelming public response to their personal story, Dave and Jan established Endurance with Jan & Dave Dravecky, a nonprofit organization that provides hope to those whose lives have been touched by suffering and pain. Pulling from her personal experiences, Jan genuinely and openly speaks to national women’s conferences, weekend retreats, and corporate and civic organizations nationwide. Her story plants the seed of hope in the lives of those who feel as if they don’t have the strength to make it through their tomorrows. Jan Dravecky’s passion to be real and her desire to walk beside those who suffer enables her to inspire and successfully encourage all women.
Dan Sucato has been on staff at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children since
completing the Dorothy and Bryant Edwards Fellowship in Pediatric Orthopaedics and Scoliosis at TSRHC in 1998. He graduated magna cum laude from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. Dr. Sucato received his medical degree (magna cum laude) and a Master
of Science degree in biophysics from Buffalo School of medicine, State
University of New York, where he also completed his general surgery internship,
orthopaedic surgery residency and basic science
He served as one of three International Traveling Fellows for the Scoliosis Research Society in 2003. During this three-week fellowship, Dr. Sucato delivered research presentations, studied and discussed landmark cases, observed surgeries at centers throughout Europe and collaborated with international spine experts.Dr. Sucato is widely published in the area of spinal deformity and has delivered dozens of presentations worldwide. His interests are spinal deformity; thoracoscopic approaches to the spine; hip conditions; adolescent hip dysplasia and its treatment with the Ganz periacetabular osteotomy
Mark A. Neidig, Sr. is the Executive Director of the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation (KCRF), an Erie, Pennsylvania based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission to create national and global awareness of the Kanzius Noninvasive Radiowave Cancer Treatment project, and to help to accelerate the speed at which research progresses through human trials.Mr. Neidig took this role in July 2009, and leads the Kanzius Foundation in its national fundraising efforts, community education/awareness known as “spreading the wave” and strategic planning. Under Mark’s direction the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation has received global recognition by winning the Pepsi Refresh Everything Project, the Ellen DeGeneres PinkWell Grant, the PinkWell Challenge award, and with audiences with Leslie Stahl, Glenn Beck, Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Born and raised in Plymouth, Indiana, Mr. Neidig has extensive for-profit and not-for-profit leadership experience in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Washington DC and The Gambia, West Africa. An articulate and passionate presenter, Neidig effectively communicates to large audiences and intimate gatherings the message of hope and “a better way” utilizing the distinct technology of the Kanzius Noninvasive Radiowave Cancer Treatment.
James Strauss, M.D. specializes in hematology and medical oncology. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine, hematology, and medical oncology. He is Director of Oncology research at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.
Dr. Strauss received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1968 and an M.D. from New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York in 1972. He completed his internship in medicine at Los Angeles County University of Southern California Medical Center, Los Angeles, California in 1973. His residency in internal medicine was completed at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Texas in 1976. Dr. Strauss completed a fellowship in hematology/oncology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Texas in 1979.
Dr. Strauss is a member of the Dallas County Medical Society, Texas Medical Association, American Medical Association, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and Texas Society of Medical Oncology. In 2009 D Magazine elected Dr. Strauss as one of the best hematology oncologists in Dallas, Texas.