Whether it brings a family closer together, helps someone heal or creates a sense of community, Real Salt Lake means many things to many different people. "Difference Makers" will explore some of those meanings, with five RSL fans - one for each weekday during Real Week - sharing their stories about what role the club plays in their lives. Today’s installment comes from Ben Rose, a Salt Lake City firefighter who was aided by RSL in his recovery from major surgery to remove a tumor in his right leg.
This past July, I discovered a large lump in my right leg. After going in for testing, the lump was found to be a tumor – I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Miotic Liposarcoma.
I was quickly scheduled for surgery on Sept. 11 to remove the baseball-sized tumor. After the surgery, I woke up and my wife and doctor told me that in the operation they had to remove about 30 percent of the muscle in my thigh in order to completely remove the tumor. This was, as you’d expect, very scary – I’m a firefighter in the Salt Lake City Fire Department and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to return to work.
My wife and I have been season ticket holders for two years and going to all the games is what we base our weekly schedule around. Being at Rio Tinto Stadium and feeling that energy in the crowd is huge for us! I had to miss “Meet the Team Day” due to how extensive the surgery was, however, I was able to make it to the next home game on Sept. 22 – wheelchair and all – to sit with my Section 26 family and be a part of that night’s 2-1 win over Portland.
Watching RSL has always inspired me, and seeing how hard the team works without giving up hugely helped in my recovery. I was able to return to limited duty work on Oct. 8, three months before my doctors had initially forecast. I'm now back at work and never accept an excuse to not give my all in life. Having a perfect wife and having an intense team like RSL to look up to has been a huge inspiration to me, and being a part of this unique group brings me pride and encourages me in my road to making a full recovery.