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Wrestler battling cancer inspires others

Updated: Monday, October 14 2013, 09:55 AM CDT
Reported by: Sherry Christian
Contributor: Rachel Snody

18-year-old Gus Bostdorf is right at home at his alma mater Camp Hill High School wrestling room.

It was just last season, he was a senior looking to win a state medal, but he was hit with a much tougher opponent.  "In January, I had a real bad cough, they called me in and discovered I had a tumor in my chest.  It was a reality check.  It really put me back in my place.  I thought I was invincible."

By May, Gus thought he had beaten it, but then in July he suffered a relapse.  Gus could've laid down on the mat and succumbed to cancer. But, he remembered something he read somewhere, "don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." Since then, no one has seen Gus without a smile on his face, despite the challenges of cancer.

"I've been given a great 18 years of my life, so I smile on that." Gus explained. "I won't cry and be bitter, that's just a waste of my time.   Life is short and in my case, time is really, really precious."

No one knows that better than the Lentz family of Camp Hill.  In June of 2004, their son Owen was killed in a tragic camping accident. In memory of him, the Lentz family created a scholarship awarded each year to a Camp Hill High School student.  Giving it to Gus was supposed to inspire him, but it turns out it was the other way around. 

"And then I come along and meet Gus and it turns everything upside down.  He's more mature than me, he handles things better than me, that's the benefit, the love that he speaks of and it's infectious, inspiring and humbling," Said Lee Lentz.

Kathy Brock, Gus' former teacher says he's always been an inspiration to the other students. "He's always been that student that you always want as a role model, for the younger Lentz's and so he's always been deserving of that award."

More valuable to Gus though is the time he can actually spend with the Lentz's, who are now part of his extended family. The Lentz family and his strong faith keep him going and keep him smiling along the way, which is something 6-year-old Ian Lentz cherishes too.  "I like that he's happy and fun to play with and I like that he's nice."

Gus says the cancer is responding to the latest treatment and doctors are optimistic.  He spent a lot of time during our conversation thanking the following people:

Four Diamonds Fund
The staff at Penn State Hershey Medical Center
Camp Hill School District
Wrestler battling cancer inspires others

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