Miller Park celebrates medical miracle

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A very special night on Saturday, September 6th at Miller Park for a man you could describe as a medical miracle.

In baseball, as in life, you don't get to pick when you're tossed a curve ball. But you do get to choose how you react. That's exactly the piece that makes Zachary Salewski a pro.

"Every time they came in and said, is there anything else I can get you he would say yeah get my grandma a glass of wine my dad a beer and my mom a diet coke. He was like in bed really really sick but he always, always joked around, always had a really good positive attitude," said Sue Salewski, Zach's mom.

You wouldn't know it from his smiley demeanor, but the 26-year-old Salewski hasn't had an easy road. Born fifteen weeks prematurely, he spent the first year and half of his life in a hospital.

"He had a trach oxygen lots of meds and they didn't know if he'd ever walk or talk," said Sue.

Thanks to good doctors and a lot of therapy, Zach now does both of those things. He even works as a bagger at a local Green Bay grocery store. Life was looking pretty good -- until last summer.

"He had fainted at home and his white blood cell count was really high and they did a CT scan and they found a mass," said Sue.

Just like that, the man who had already beaten all the odds, found himself staring down stage four colon cancer.

"I was shocked, personally," said Zach.

Salewski kept his positive outlook, and after some serious help from a medical team and Froedert and the Medical College, "we were able to give him chemo, shrink this tumor down, and then I did a surgery which was about eight hours or so," said Kiran Turaga, a surgical oncologist at Froedtert.

Salewski is now cancer-free. An announcement that drew thunderous applause for him and his care team when they appeared on field before the Brewers' game Saturday.

"We realize as doctors, we're not gods and we realize we do our best and I think it's the human spirit that ultimately helps fight cancer and beat it," said Turaga.

Salewski says he just wants his message to be that anything is possible.

"He had two miracles in life and we don't know how that's even possible," Sue said.

Another thing FOX6 News learned about Zach today, his family says he loves to give back. In high school, he used to sell snacks and then take the proceeds and donate them to Children's Hospital or the Ronald McDonald House.

Both the Salewski family, and the medical team that cared for him stuck around to watch Saturday's game together.