LOS ANGELES — Chiefs safety Eric Berry was named the Best Comeback Athlete at the ESPYS Wednesday and the crowd roared as he took the stage to give his acceptance speech.
The ESPY award for Best Comeback Player of the year usually goes to an athlete who has overcome career threatening injuries and returned to the game, but Berry did so much more than that.
Berry, who was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in December of 2014, fought for the game, his loved ones and his life.
After his diagnosis, Berry opted to receive treatment through an IV instead of a port so he could continue working out during the process. In all, he endured six rounds of chemotherapy. He was declared cancer free on June 22, 2015 and returned to Kansas City in late July of last year.
During the 2015 season, his first season back on the field since treatment and being declared cancer free, Berry started all 16 games and had a total of 61 tackles, 55 individual and six assists. He also had two interceptions. He went on to cap off the season by being name to the 2016 Pro Bowl roster.
The safety said during his acceptance speech there were two words that kept him going through the whole process. Those words were honor and legacy.
Berry’s full acceptance speech:
First of all, I’d like to thank God just because none of this would be possible. I wouldn’t be standing here before you. Also, want to thank my parents who are actually here with me, sitting here with me. And I’m so thankful that I have some true ride or dies with me that show me the true meaning of unconditional love, and how important it is in this world. And I’m truly thankful that I can call you guys my parents.
Thankful for my brothers who pretty much went against hospital protocol and sat in with me on my treatments. I almost got kicked out, but they bucked anyway, and I’m proud of them.
There’s so many people I could thank and give honor to, but I just want to talk to the people that’s out there fighting whatever they’re fighting.
And there’s two words that stood out to me throughout the whole process was honor and legacy, which I got from my big bro. You honor the ones that come before you and leave a legacy for the ones who come behind you.
When you fight something like cancer, you’re not dealing with a person that looks at where you come from or what’s your background, what race you are, what ethnicity or whatever your culture is.
It doesn’t care about that. It doesn’t sleep. It doesn’t get tired.
So if you make it about yourself you’re going to fail every time.
So you honor the ones that come before you. The Stuart Scotts. The Robin Roberts.
You honor those folks by the way you approach it day in and day out. And you attack it.
You attack it because if you make it about yourself you fail every time.
Then you leave a legacy for the ones who come after you. The James Conners. The Brodarious Hamms. The other ones that got diagnosed this past year, even this past day.
You just try to approach it where somebody can look at your story and look at you and say, ‘Man you know what, I’m not a victim of circumstance. I’m not a victim of diagnosis. I can do it if I put my mind to it, and I have a wonderful support system.’
So, I’m not accepting this award for me, I’m accepting it for all the fighters out there. Regardless of what your circumstance is, regardless of what your diagnosis is, just keep pushing and always remember, ‘Honor your legacy, baby.’ And you can push through it.”