GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Every diehard sports fan likely hopes to attend a Super Bowl in their lifetime.
But, what if you know that your life will be cut short due to a terminal illness and the big game on February 7, 2021 is likely your last chance?
Spectrum Health doctor, Brian Lane was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. He's hoping the NFL will invite him to attend Super Bowl LV so he can witness fellow U of M alum, Tom Brady, try to win his 7th championship.
Dr. Lane has been working at Spectrum Health as a Urological Oncologist since 2009. Everything in his life was going according to script until 2018.
"That's the year I was diagnosed," said Dr. Lane. "Here I was, healthy, in my mid-40s, and I felt a lump in my leg."
Dr. Lane says he underwent radiation and two surgeries to remove the cancer. Soon after, his oncologist said he was in remission.
"I'm a cancer doctor, so I know that it can always come back," said Dr. Lane.
Dr. Lane says his remission allowed him to believe he was cured of his cancer, but in early January 2021, he devastatingly found out otherwise.
"I went to a routine scan [with my oncologist] in early January, and it showed that my cancer had come back," said Dr. Lane. "It's in my chest cavity and likely in my bones.
"Standardly, I have one to two years left, but probably 12 to 18 months."
Dr. Lane says soon after hearing that news, he began taking inventory on his life, and asking himself, "What would I like to do that I've never done?"
"I've never been to a Super Bowl," said Dr. Lane.
Brian Lane was born in New Jersey, so he has steep East Coast roots. He decide to attend Medical School at the University of Michigan in 1995, and graduated in 2002.
That timeframe happened to be when Tom Brady also attended U of M, and was one of the quarterbacks on the football team.
"I've been a Michigan fan and a Brady fan throughout," said Dr. Lane. "When I moved from the east coast to Michigan, I kind of adopted everything, meaning I became a fan of all Michigan sports.
"The [Detroit] Lions certainly have not had a great run, so I decided to celebrate with the guy who's had success."
Dr. Lane, who says he's only attended two NFL games in his life, has a bucket list item he'd like to cross off before he dies - attend a Super Bowl.
"Soon after the recent terminal diagnosis, I started thinking, 'What can I do and what cant's I do,'" said Dr. Lane. "I had heard that the NFL was sending random doctors, who had been COVID vaccinated, to Super Bowl LV."
During Sunday's AFC Championship game, Dr. Lane wrote a letter to the NFL, which Spectrum Health eventually backed, and sent.
"I could just give up hope and sit here and be sad, or I could reach out and see [what comes of it]," said Dr. Lane.
On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Spectrum Health emailed Dr. Lane's letter to the NFL. The league responded asking if Dr. Lane was fully vaccinated, which the hospital said he was.
An NFL representative responded saying, 'As soon as you can confirm your vaccinations, I will be able to approve this and send hotel information if needed.'"
"I can't believe there's even a conversation about this happening," said Dr, Lane. "I'm just another guy.
"It's shocking to me that I'm struggling with this cancer diagnosis, but then we flip it, and it's mind-blowing that I could go to the Super Bowl and that somebody would care about me and would hear my story."
When 13 ON YOUR SIDE interviewed Dr. Lane for this story, he was literally in his car on his way to the hospital for a chemotherapy treatment. He still had to fill out the paperwork the NFL emailed him, proving he'd been vaccinated.
Once that paperwork is sent back to the NFL, all Dr. Lane can do is hope his story gets him selected so he can travel to Tampa, FL. for the big game.
"My mother lives in Tampa," said Dr. Lane. "So, this trip would be a two-for-one, for me."
Late in the day on Jan. 27, Spectrum Health received an email from the NFL saying that Dr. Lane would be getting a ticket to the Super Bowl, but he'd have to pay for air fare and hotel accommodations.
'It's nice to see that there can be a silver lining in the middle of this darkness," said. Dr. Lane. "This is a dream come true and has given me a ray of hope in the middle of this tough journey."
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