‘This is pretty surreal’: Mudryk on calling the Brier, years after cancer battle
Published Wednesday, March 6, 2013 6:17PM MST Last Updated Wednesday, March 6, 2013 6:40PM MST
He’s a familiar face in Edmonton, as he anchored and reported sports for CTV until 2005 – before moving to TSN. These days Bryan Mudryk is back in Edmonton for the 2013 Brier, an event that helped him through one of the worst times in his life.
Fourteen years ago, when Mudryk was 19-years-old, he was in the fight of his life at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.
He was battling a second bout of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, he was bedridden and undergoing intense chemotherapy – he’d lost more than 60 pounds.
“I remember that there was long days, and painful days and I was very ill,” Mudryk said. “[I was] battling through the worst month of my life.”
At this time, curling took on a new meaning for the young man – he held onto his dream of becoming a TSN broadcaster, and calling curling one day.
All this, while watching skip Jeff Stoughton and his Manitoba rink win their way to the top of the 1999 Brier, a battle that mirrored Mudryk’s own reality.
“It was the darkest time in my life, and to be able to watch something, to take your mind off of that,” Mudryk said. “Not a lot of positive things when you’re going through something that bad.”
When he finally made it through, Mudryk pledged to give back to the hospital that saved his life.
“He said, ‘I’m going to give back $1 million to this hospital,’ And of course, after everything we’d just been through it was like ‘Ok Bryan, we’ll get right on that’,” Terry Mudryk-Harbarenko, Mudryk’s mother, said.
In its eleventh year, the Bryan Mudryk Golf Classic, held in Mudryk’s home town of Boyle, Alberta is poised to reach the $1 million mark.
He’s also planning to help post-secondary students undergoing cancer treatment by developing a scholarship program for college and university students.
For Mudryk, being back in the city where he overcame the darkest time of his life and calling the sport that helped pull him through has given the broadcaster a unique perspective on the annual curling competition.
“It’s funny how life can wrap a bow on things, when you work hard and believe in yourself,” Mudryk said. “This is pretty surreal.”
With files from Brenna Rose