East Wrestling Coach battles cancer courageously - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

East Wrestling Coach battles cancer courageously


Former Iowa State Wrestling All-American Willie Gadson is always up for a challenge.

In February, Willie Gadson, the head wrestling coach at Waterloo East, discovered he would be facing the battle of his life.

Doctors diagnosed Gadson with stage four bone and lung cancer.

In just a couple of months, the once robust Gadson Lost more than 60 pounds, but the people who know Gadson's fighting spirit knew he would battle the deadly disease.

Since May, Willie has re-gained 20 pounds, and he vows to return to coaching. Gadson says this has been a difficult journey, but his family- especially his wife of 30 years, Denita- and friends love and support have helped strengthen his will to go on.

He says the excellent medical care at Covenant Cancer Treatment Center and Mayo Clinic in Rochester have given him a fighting chance. 

East High teacher and coach Cory Lang has spearheaded the fundraising effort to help the Gadson family with the insurmountable medical expenses.

Gadson's wife Denita says the community support and the support of Willie's friends and colleagues throughout the country has been overwhelming. 

This Saturday, there will be a battle for Gadson benefit from 6:30 p.m. to midnight at the Isle Casino Hotel ballroom in Waterloo.

There will be prominent guest speakers and a silent auction--including autographed memorabilia from many big names in sports.

The event will also feature a live band and dancing, and admission is free.

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