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GREEN BAY – Patrick Petitjean, an 8th degree black belt holder, last year knocked out an enemy that attacks an estimated 10,000 Americans every year – tongue cancer.
In honor of his victory and his cancer-free status, Petitjean, 59, will host a karate championship event on Sunday, Nov. 14 and donate the proceeds to the Patient Assistance Fund at The Cancer Team at Bellin Health.
The event will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the banquet room at the Suamico Ale House & Pro Bowl, 2312 Lineville Road, Green Bay. The karate championship is expected to draw at least 100 competitors.
“I want to do this event as a way of telling people diagnosed with cancer that even when they’re told it’s terminal, it’s not terminal until you quit trying to fight,” Petitjean said. “Hopefully the event will go well and we’ll make it an annual thing that gets bigger every year.”
Petitjean’s Karate Center, 3816 Velp Ave., and Harris’ Karate Center, 2221 University Ave., Green Bay are event co-sponsors. Petitjean has owned his karate center since 1980.
Supporters are asked to pay a $7 minimum door-fee donation which will benefit the Patient Assistance Fund at The Cancer Team at Bellin Health.
“The fund helps us assist patients burdened by the financial side of cancer treatments,” said Alli Lubinski, a cancer coach at The Cancer Team. “We provide them with gas cards, grocery cards and other types of gift cards to help with the daily-living types of things.”
The fund also supports a voucher system through Bellin’s pharmacy that benefits cancer patients. “It helps pay for prescription medications and medical equipment,” Lubinski said.
Petitjean said he was diagnosed with tongue cancer last year after noticing a bump on his tongue that rapidly grew larger and harder. More than 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with tongue cancer each year, according to The Cancer Team.
“I finally went and saw the doctor and he looked at it and it’s like he knew right away,” Petitjean said. “The ball got rolling instantly. When I heard it was tongue cancer, I just kind of sat there doing absolutely nothing. I was just stunned. I was just thinking, this doesn’t happen to me, this happens to other people.”
Petitjean, however, quickly accepted the challenge of fighting cancer. After three surgeries and an aggressive treatment program involving radiation and chemotherapy, he says he’s been given another lease on life and wishes to use his experience fighting cancer and his martial arts background to help inspire courage in other cancer patients.
“My brother asked me a few times during my cancer fight, ‘Do you ever just sit in a corner and cry?’ I said, ‘Never,’” Petitjean said. “You can’t let cancer get you down. You have to keep fighting. Cancer only wins if you quit fighting.”
For additional information, call Patrick Petitjean at (920) 713-4964.