Former Brandon Bobcats' star Paul Sanderson is in the international spotlight after overcoming a major obstacle.
Sanderson is suiting up with the Australian national men's volleyball team following a cancer scare.
"Making the senior national team has always been a huge goal for me, and to do it overcoming cancer, I'm quite proud of myself," Sanderson told CKLQ's Tyler Crayston. "I don't want to get a big head or anything like that, but it was a big effort."
The 28-year-old was diagnosed in December and underwent four cycles of chemotherapy, while staying in hospital a week at a time.
"Sitting in that hospital bed, getting pumped full of the chemotherapy drugs, there was some very dark days," said Sanderson. "I was in Finland, my dad was lucky to fly over and see me. It was, not a lonely experience, but very humbling. You really appreciate just life in general, all the small things, the taste of good food and the company of people."
The 2009-2010 CIS men's volleyball player of the year finished his final round of treatment at the end of March and at the start of May was vying for a spot on the squad.
"I still didn't have all my hair back, I went there as a bald guy," said Sanderson. "Obviously I hadn't played volleyball since December, so getting back into the touch and feel, especially as that national team level was quite difficult, but I did enough just to crack the squad. I've been improving and I've got the starting position now."
Sanderson won his battle for position on the court and could be earning a bigger victory off it - a clean bill of health.
"I'm feeling good now, I still got to do a couple more tests in a couple of weeks, just to see if it's all gone or not," said Sanderson. "The last six months for me have been a bit of a rollercoaster. You just never expect something so scary. You think you're superman, or you think you're tough and nothing will ever happen to you, but when the doctor sits you down and tells you that you have cancer it's a huge shock."
The setback that Sanderson suffered only made the success the followed sweeter.
He and the Aussies and competing in the FIVB World League and will host Canada in a pair of matches this weekend.
They have their sights set on the world championship in Poland later this summer, and the long-term goal is reaching the 2016 Olympics.
"I've got a lot of room to improve, but I'm willing to put in the effort and do what it takes over the next couple of years to get a spot in the Olympics," said Sanderson.