Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Badger, Delavan team up to fight cancer
Koehl, Lodahl help sport, cause

by Mike Ramczyk

January 26, 2012

Craig Lodahl can breathe a bit easier nowadays.

Everything is back to normal. He regularly visits his doctor every six months just like a lot of people. No problems. No worries.

Three years ago, however, Lodahl was in the fight for his life.

The 43-year-old had a cancerous tumor removed from his stomach and began chemotherapy for a year. Lodahl survived the ordeal, and now he can get back to business as the Delavan-Darien wrestling coach.

"It was pretty serious," Lodahl said about his condition. "I was two years clear in November."

Lodahl's colleague and Badger wrestling coach Shane Koehl can relate to Lodahl. Koehl, 33, was a standout wrestler at Delavan-Darien. At 130 pounds, Koehl won state as a senior. He would go on to wrestle for a year at UW-La Crosse before facing a challenge he didn't see coming.

During his sophomore year, Koehl was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Intense chemotherapy and radiation helped free Koehl of his condition.

"Chemo really wore me out," Koehl said. "I was very fortunate to be young and athletic."

Before the wrestling season, Lodahl, a science teacher at Badger High School, thought about making this Thursday's Badger-Delavan dual in Delavan one both coaches wouldn't soon forget.

So he contacted a friend who works for the American Cancer Society to propose the idea of a Coaches vs. Cancer event. Lodahl said he saw it at basketball games and thought, "Why not wrestling?"

"I know Shane well," Lodahl said. "This is a great opportunity to promote the sport of wrestling and the ACS. Everything kind of fell into place."

According to Koehl, the Coaches vs. Cancer event already has 34 business sponsors from Lake Geneva and Delavan, and there will be a 50/50 raffle at the match. Athletes will wear T-shirts with the slogan "out to pin cancer," and they will be available for purchase.

"It's an easy way to give back," Koehl said.

The match is Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Delavan-Darien High School.