The Green Bay Packers take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship on Sunday night, and the winning team will go on to play in the Super Bowl. After the Packers defeated Seattle to punch their ticket to the conference title game, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the team are looking to continue their success at Levi’s Stadium on January 19.
Whether Green Bay comes out victorious or not, team’s veteran kicker Mason Crosby, who has five children with wife Molly Ackerman Crosby, has a lot to be grateful for this past year.
In an essay published in SI, Crosby, 35, opened up about the day in June 2019, when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. At first, the couple believed her symptoms were signs of pneumonia, and Molly was treated for an upper respiratory infection. But a routine chest X-ray and follow-up CT scan revealed she had something much more serious.
“That’s when the worry started creeping in as we wondered what was going on,” Crosby said. “Our friend who is a thoracic surgeon here in Green Bay ran us through what they found: There was a tumor on the lower lobe of her right lung. We learned that your right lung has three lobes and the left side has two; the bottom lobe of Molly’s right lung had a tumor. It was a good-sized tumor, about two centimeters across, tucked in a spot close to her spine and near her heart.”
A biopsy showed that Molly’s tumor was a neuroendocrine tumor, and because they caught it early, doctors said that it wasn’t yet metastatic. Two days before Packers’ training camp started, Molly went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for additional scans and pathology testing.
Crosby recalled, “At that moment we had time to sit, just the two of us, before the chaos of training camp, and digest the fact that Molly was going to have a significant surgery. We had tears; we had moments of how is this happening? My wife lives a very clean life; she is a non-smoker, does everything in her power to prevent cancer from happening in her body. Then, we had this moment of connection between us: We are doing this together, we are going to fight this, whatever we need to do, in the best way possible.”
Molly’s surgery to remove the tumor was delayed after doctor’s found a large blood clot in the vein to her ovaries and noticed numerous small tumors on her liver, which would also need to be biopsied. Prior to the surgery, Crosby took time off from the team to be with his wife. “We felt so much support from the Packers organization and our friends and family, many of whom stepped up to help us with our kids,” Crosby said.
Crosby’s Job With The Packers Was In Flux During His Wife’s Diagnosis
Nothing is ever a sure bet in the NFL, and even though Crosby signed a 4-year $16 million contract with the Packers in 2016, he was worried about his ability to keep the starting job going into this season.
“I played in the game Thursday night, jumped on a plane Friday morning and arrived at the hospital when Molly was checking in and doing pre-op stuff,” Crosby said. “Then she was in surgery a couple hours later. It was a whirlwind. It was a tricky surgery, lasting over five hours, with the spine and heart being close to the tumor. Our surgeon, Shanda Blackmon, had done a similar surgery before and was confident that she wouldn’t have to take the whole lobe out but could instead do a segmental resection.”
The next day, the Crosbys learned that not only was Molly’s surgery was successful, but he also received a call from Packers’ head coach Matt LeFleur confirming he’d be joining the team for the 2019-20 season. No longer requiring radiation or chemotherapy, Molly’s been able to head to Lambeau Field and cheer her husband on at games.
Crosby Has Lost Numerous Family Members To Cancer, Including Sister-In-Law Brittany, Who Died In November 2019
Crosby dedicated a special pair of cleats for his wife and late sister-in-law, Brittany Crosby. His brother’s wife died of ovarian cancer on November 29, at age 30, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.
Crosby, who’s been co-chair of the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation Golf Classic for eight years, which raises money for cancer, has personally dealt with the blows of the disease more than a few times. He lost his grandfather to lung cancer in 2004, and his grandmother to uterine cancer in 2012.
In October, Crosby’s great uncle died from cancer, a mere month before his sister-in-law passed after a three year battle with the disease.