Summarized by Kent Larsen
Tumour puts mission on hold
Auckland New Zealand Herald 15Feb00 P2
By Vanessa Bidois
HUNTLY, NEW ZEALAND -- LDS Church member John Thocolich has had to
put both his basketball career on hold and an LDS mission on hold
while doctors deal with a brain tumor that has reappeared. Thocolich,
who is 7 foot 4 and wears size 23 shoes has had to go through a
series of operations to remove the tumor, which affects his pituitary
gland, and therefore his growth.
Thocolich has played basketball for the Salt Lake Community College
for the past four months, and while he was home visiting his family
for Christmas, a check-up with his doctor revealed that the tumor has
recurred. "He's now had to suspend his basketball," his doctor, David
Gilgen, said. "But the upside is that after he's had surgery and
recuperated, he'll now act in the movie, make money and go on a
mission." Thocolich has also been given an extra's role in a movie
version of J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings, and plans to use the
cash for his mission.
Thocolich is the first in his family to serve an LDS mission.
Baptized a member of the Church when he was 15, he expects that a
two-year absence will be good for him and good for his basketball
career, "You learn heaps of knowledge, you become more mature and the
experiences I will have on a mission will help me in my basketball
career," he said of missionary work.