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Overcoming the Odds

Trevor Schrader, ‘16

A cancer diagnosis at age 24 was the last thing Trevor Schrader was expecting during his second year of law school at the University of Memphis (UM) in March 2018. He underwent the first of several surgeries in April, followed by a summer of chemotherapy treatments and a 10-hour surgery in August to remove multiple tumors from his abdomen.

Follow-up checkups have shown Schrader to be free of cancer. “I feel much, much better than last spring. There’s no more pain,” Schrader said, from his home in Tennessee.

Before his testicular cancer diagnosis, Schrader was experiencing lower back pain, which he attributed to playing sports in high school. The pain worsened, however, and then he started noticing shortness of breath. Schrader talked to his older brother, a physician assistant, who urged him to make an appointment with a doctor. That’s when he discovered he had stage 3 cancer and that it had spread throughout his abdomen and into his lungs. The softball-sized tumor was pressing against his spine, and was also crowding a kidney — necessitating its removal. Treatment included four rounds of chemo, six surgeries, five different hospital visits and meetings with eight different physicians.

Despite his illness and subsequent medical treatments, Schrader fell behind just one semester. Though he officially graduated from law school this past December, UM invited Schrader to walk with his colleagues during the 2019 commencement ceremony in May. He plans to stay in Tennessee and work for a judge “behind the scenes” doing research and writing work.

Schrader grew up in the Denver area and attended Colorado Mesa University where he graduated in 2016 with a degree in sports management. “I always had a strong inclination toward law school,” he said. “In my freshman or sophomore year at CMU I made a decision that was solidified by several different professors who were also
attorneys” — citing faculty member Richard Bell as particularly helpful.

“CMU was a great decision for my undergraduate degree,” he said.
“It used to be the best-kept secret in Colorado — it’s not such a
secret anymore.” 

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Written by Sharon Sullivan