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Rhodes football coach Phillip Gary overcomes stage 4 cancer, returns to the field

November 01, 2013 by Robert Rozboril, Northeast Ohio Media Group
CLEVELAND, Ohio - When Phillip Gary felt the first inclination something wasn't right last summer, his initial thought was food poisoning.

It seemed logical to the longtime varsity football and baseball coach at Rhodes. The pain he felt in his stomach must be from the spinach salad he'd eaten the day before, after seeing his weight was up near 230 pounds and deciding it was time to eat a little healthier.

After trips to a couple of physicians, including a gastroenterologist, it became clear there was more to Gary's condition than could be caused by some bad spinach.

Gary, 54, was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in July, 2012.

"It was a shock," he said. "To go from thinking it's just food poisoning to such an extreme diagnosis, it's rough."