Rottink reflects on his battle with cancer

Blake Rottink recently celebrated with friends and family after his final chemotherapy treatment. (Bethany Carson Photos)

Blake Rottink of Clarksville has always believed in hard work. Four years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer. Since then, he’s survived the fight of his life. After about with the disease that spanned between 200 and 300 treatments, he recently celebrated with family and friends at Pete and Shorty’s after his last chemotherapy treatment.

“You don’t have to lay down and take what fate gave you,” Rottink said.

Rottink was in the last semester of his senior year, working toward a biology degree at UNI when he first started to feel unwell. At first, doctors thought he had pneumonia. He was coughing non-stop and at the point where he could hardly breathe when a doctor discovered tumors around his lungs, which were filled with fluid.

Rottink had T-cell acute lymphoblastic lymphoma, a cancer that effected his lymphatic system. He was later also diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia, which affected blood cells throughout his body.

He spent the second half of his last semester in the hospital.

“My legs were so weak because when I was in the hospital … for a couple weeks there, I didn’t move at all, and my muscles broke down,” Rot-tink said. “There was constant throwing up all the time and headaches, and I was so depressed. It was tough at first. That first year was really tough.”

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