Max Parrot undergoes treatment for cancer

PyeongChang silver medallist and five-time X Games champion starts "new type of challenge" after Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis.

Snowboard star Max Parrot will miss the rest of the season to undergo treatment for cancer.

The Canadian slopestyle silver medallist from PyeongChang 2018 had an operation after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in December.

And Parrot received his first course of chemotherapy last week.

PyeongChang 2018 slopestyle podium (L-R): silver medallist Max Parrot, gold medallist Red Gerard, bronze medallist Mark McMorris
PyeongChang 2018 slopestyle podium (L-R): silver medallist Max Parrot, gold medallist Red Gerard, bronze medallist Mark McMorrisPyeongChang 2018 slopestyle podium (L-R): silver medallist Max Parrot, gold medallist Red Gerard, bronze medallist Mark McMorris

The 24-year-old said, "It won't be easy to stay at home these upcoming months because I'm used to travelling at this time of year. But I have a new type of challenge to take on.

"This is a new kind of competition I must face, and I intend to do everything I can to win."

Parrot is an outpatient at a hospital near his hometown of Bromont in Quebec.

His specialist Joelle Duschene said, "Max has a stage IIA [or early stage] classical Hodgkin's lymphoma. The treatment plan is chemotherapy for six months, and the prognosis is very good."

"Long process"

Parrot will have 11 further sessions of chemotherapy at two-week intervals.

He admitted, "I know it will get tougher and tougher as it goes on. It will be a long process.

"The word 'cancer' is scary, as is the treatment that comes with it. But I have great people around me. I have a lot of real positive energy with my family and my friends. My sponsors are also supporting me in this.

"I have an awesome medical team and I have all the confidence in the world in the work they are doing. My sport psychologist and my coach also help me make sure that my morale is good, so that I can fight this as best I can."

December diagnosis

The five-times X Games champion missed last month's Dew Tour to have a biopsy, his first competition absence for seven years.

He said, "The first symptoms appeared when I started scratching my skin repeatedly back in September. And then, in November, I realised I had a bump on my neck. I had a swollen gland.

"I saw my family doctor and he sent me for a biopsy. I received the diagnosis a few days before Christmas, confirming that I had Hodgkin's lymphoma."

Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer originating from specific white blood cells called lymphocytes with diagnosis most common in adults between 20 and 40 years old.

The most common symptoms are enlarged lymph nodes in the neck and shoulders.

McMorris rivalry

With his final jump, Parrot pipped Mark McMorris to slopestyle silver at PyeongChang.

The two Canadians have competed against each other for years, and could not have more contrasting approaches to their sport.

While McMorris is a traditional, social 'backcountry' rider, Parrot puts the 'professional' into professional snowboarder.

This has occasionally led to differences of opinion with McMorris saying of Parrot's PyeongChang effort, "Max played it safe and he got second, which is insane to me. It's worse when you play it safe and it doesn't work out."

Parrot would rather spend time trampolining in the gym than out on backcountry rides, and suspects McMorris is keeping quiet about what he does off-course to protect his image.

He told CBC Sports, "In snowboarding, [if] you're doing trampolining it's not known as something cool.

"So I think he just stopped that for his image or maybe he does it secretly, I don't know."

Despite their different personalities, the pair have great mutual respect and McMorris was quick to support his team-mate in his cancer fight.

Mark McMorris and Max Parrot celebrate their slopestyle snowboard medals at PyeongChang 2018
Mark McMorris and Max Parrot celebrate their slopestyle snowboard medals at PyeongChang 2018Mark McMorris and Max Parrot celebrate their slopestyle snowboard medals at PyeongChang 2018

Please send your positive vibes to @maxparrot so he can get back to doing what we all love SO much 🏂🙏🏽❤️👊🏽 You got this brother! - Mark McMorris on Instagram

McMorris famously took bronze in Korea 11 months after a near-fatal crash.

Parrot now has his own life-threatening condition to deal with but, unlike McMorris, he will not have to spend weeks lying in a hospital bed.

"The good news is that there is no restriction in terms of physical activity.

"Of course, I can’t go out and risk a serious injury, so no triple corks for me, but I will be able to ride on my snowboard."

"That’s a good thing, because the more I will be physically active, the better I will be able to recover after my chemotherapy sessions."

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