Agawam volleyball player fighting battles on and off the court

(Western Mass News photo)

It's now time for our Spring Fever feature of the week and it comes out of Agawam, where a junior volleyball player has been dealing with more than just homework and practice.

This young man has been engaged in a year-long battle with cancer, but that hasn't stopped him from suiting up for every game this season.

It's been an unforgettable season for the Agawam High School boys volleyball team. The Brownies knocked off one opponent after another en route to one of the best records in the history of the school.

All seems well on and off the court, but for junior Justin Lingenberg, there is much more than meets the eye .

"I was sitting in bed, just laying there. I was just thinking to myself, I just want to be normal again," Lingenberg said.

Lingenberg has been battling brain cancer for nearly a year now and has undergone several rounds of radiation and chemotherapy in hopes of getting better. His daily life as a high school student has seen some obvious changes.

"My memory isn't too good because of the chemo. I can't really remember too many good things, which affects also school and studying," Lingenberg explained.

However, Lingenberg has not let it stand in his way. He has played in every game this season and while brain cancer has impacted his on-floor performance, it has not stopped the Brownies from winning game after game.

"It kind of gets me out of the mindset of that I have to go through this in my life," Lingenberg said.

Fundraisers have carried on for the last year, from donation tables at sporting events, to even teams dedicating their entire season to him. A golf tournament 'Fore Justin' also aims to raise money for treatments.

His head coach, Kevin Pender, told Western Mass News that no athlete of his has ever worked harder.

"He has overcome adversity. He is challenged everyday, both in his current challenges, and the ongoing treatments, but he showing up for practice, going harder than anyone else in practice, trying to get better," Pender explained.

Apart from coming to the games to show your support, you can also donate to Lingenberg's treatments or sign up for his charity golf tournament.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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