Chemo sessions nearly complete, snowboarder Parrot aims for August return

Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot has some ambitious plans for the summer once he wraps up chemotherapy treatments in late June.

The Olympic silver medallist, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma last fall, said Thursday that most of the cancer has been eradicated. Parrot hopes to return to the gym in early July to begin training for a planned return to competition at the X Games on Aug. 31 in Norway.

“This is going to be a pretty big challenge,” Parrot said. “It depends on (each) patient, but some patients get their energy back after two years. My plan is to get it back in only two months. That will be a hard summer for training. Hopefully I can get my energy back and my cardio.

“I have lost a lot of cardio in the past month so if I can get that back, hopefully I can go to X Games.”

Parrot, who was second in slopestyle at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, announced his diagnosis in January.

Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects white blood cells in the lymphatic system. It’s most often seen in people between the ages of 20 and 40.

“I did a body scan a couple weeks ago and it was very conclusive,” Parrot said from Montreal. “We saw that most of the cancer is gone, so that’s the really good news. But I still have to go all the way to the end just to make sure that every little cell is dead.”

Former Pittsburgh Penguins star Mario Lemieux was diagnosed with the disease in 1993 and returned to play later that NHL season.

Parrot, who turns 25 next month, has completed nine of 12 treatments. He has talked about his goal of an X Games return with coaches and doctors, and said they’ll support him and try to make it happen.

“The only thing they keep telling me is, ‘Every patient is a different patient,”’ Parrot said. “So everybody reacts a different way. It’s something that’s possible. Some of the patients have got their energy back in less than two months. So it’s something that’s doable for sure.”

Parrot, from Bromont, Que., made his debut on the World Snowboard Tour as a 16-year-old in 2011. He won the Tour’s big air overall title three years later and is a five-time X Games champion.

His Olympic debut came at the 2014 Sochi Games when he finished fifth in slopestyle. He was ninth in the big air competition four years later in Pyeongchang.

Parrot noticed a bump on his neck while travelling last November and went to the doctor when he returned home. He expressed confidence in his cancer battle from the start, noting the disease was caught early and has a high rate of recovery.

“For sure there are some days when I feel more down than others,” he said. “It’s not an easy process, but I’m trying to be as positive as I can.”

In July, Parrot plans to do some trampoline work and resume regular gym training. He hopes to get back on snow in August and is aiming to get on the podium in Oslo.

“That’s what I want to do,” Parrot said. “I know I’m putting a lot on my shoulders but that’s how I am. I really want to get back on track as quick as I can.”

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