Even though he was standout high school athlete in three sports, it was no surprise to those that knew him when Patrick Wiese made the commitment to his first love: Baseball. He accepted an offer from Le Moyne College in his hometown of Syracuse, NY and began his life as Number Two for the Dolphins. Wiese played each and every game with gusto, skill and joy. He was selected to play in the Valley Baseball League in Virginia and the New England College Baseball League during the summers, allowing him to never be away from the game he loved. After his junior year season, Number 2 was voted captain for the Dolphins. His dreams of having a chance at a professional life on the baseball field were looking good.
Life was exactly what you would expect the life of a 21 year old rising college senior to be. And then, suddenly, it wasn’t
Being an athlete, Wiese was used to pain and always played through it. However, while playing for the Vermont Mountaineers, it became unbearable. After sleepless nights with excruciating knee pain, he could no longer ignore it. He told his father, an orthopedic surgeon, and an MRI was ordered. The results came out of left field.
Wiese was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer.
The tumor was removed in October along with his knee, femur, several tendons, ligaments and aspirations of a professional baseball career. However, Wiese won’t allow cancer to take anything else from him. “...It cannot cripple love and it cannot kill friendships. It cannot shatter hope,” tweets Wiese. “It can only strengthen those things.” Wiese attacks physical therapy and chemotherapy as he would a pitcher with a great fastball. “Find an excuse to win” he says. “...It cannot cripple love and it cannot kill friendships. It cannot shatter hope. It can only strengthen those things.” “I can say that I played my last game like it was my last game”, Wiese says. “For everyone out there, take me as an example that anything can happen at any moment, so live each day and perform each day’s activities like it is your last. Know that, at any time, it can be taken away from you with a blink of an eye. And if that happens, I hope you don’t have any regrets, because I can tell you I don’t. As someone who will never be able to play the game I love again, I ask you to attack each day like it was your last so when you look back at it later in life you can smile. In fifty years, I will be smiling back on my last game because I played it like my last."
It is this attitude along with Wiese’s strong Jesuit upbringing and close knit family that has him thinking beyond himself and on a global level. He and his teammates established the Patrick Wiese Foundation.
The mission of the foundation is to support research as well as cancer patients and their families. This includes cancer research, physical support for cancer patients as well as academic needs of patients who received their diagnosis while still pursuing an education.