Cancer survivor Sundberg aims to help others

Former Rangers All-Star launching website to spread positivity

February 8th, 2018
Three-time All-Star Jim Sundberg played 16 seasons in the Majors, including 12 with Texas. (Brandon Wade/Rangers)

ARLINGTON -- Former Rangers catcher Jim Sundberg is getting ready to take off into his latest venture of a long, varied and successful career.

Sundberg -- baseball player, broadcaster, entrepreneur, author, public speaker and Major League executive -- and his wife, Janet, are soon going to launch a new website designed to help people leave behind a positive legacy. Sports2LifeNation is in the final stages of development.

"I am excited about it," Sundberg said. "I really think it's a calling. It has the best of my skill set, my gift set around it in terms of creativity and design."

Sundberg, who retired from his position with the Rangers three years ago and will turn 67 later this year, is back to full-speed ahead. He just finished a full year of battling prostate cancer, but once again he has come out on the winning side.

It does not appear that cancer has slowed him down.

"The [latest] checkup went really well," Sundberg said. "The doctor who has been doing this over 25 years said he has never seen such good test results in the time he has been doing it."

Sundberg was diagnosed in August 2016 after his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level started elevating. He has been dealing with it ever since and it hasn't been easy. But it does appear that the story has a happy ending.

"I had an MRI that showed suspicious tissue and they did a biopsy and there were some aggressive cells," Sundberg said. "I spent six weeks trying to decide the right kind of procedure, went through the process and landed on doing proton beam, targeted radiation.

"Mine did not metastasize outside the prostate. But it was an aggressive cell and they needed to something fairly quick before it did venture outside. I chose a plan to kill it with target radiation beam ... use a hormone drug to weaken it so the proton could kill it."

Proton therapy for prostate cancer involves using a focused ray of proton particles to destroy cancerous tissues. The treatment delivers precise, high doses of radiation to accurately target cancer cells without causing damage to healthy tissue surrounding the prostate.

"For me, this confirmed why I am a man of faith," Sundberg said. "Before I went into that, I said. 'Lord what is this all about?' He said, 'Clearly there is something there, but I got it.' Very clearly. I used that through some tedious times, tenuous times, not hearing good stories about a good outcome because of the aggressiveness of it.

"They were providing the worst-case scenario and the best-case scenario turned out. What I heard in the supernatural was confirmed in the natural when I went to the doctor and he said I've never heard these kind of good results.

"So. I'm very confident that it is gone. If it does return there are ways of treating that. This is the year of moving forward. I had time to rest and refresh and think about the next step."

The next step is the website that he and his wife are launching. Jim and Janet Sundberg once combined to write a successful book called "How to Win at Sports Parenting" and this is another effort directed toward helping others. They believe the website will help in a variety of ways.

There is a reason why the Rangers have Sundberg's name on their community service award.

"It's called legacy matters," Sundberg said. "Everything will be taken through the window of what are the elements that go into leaving a legacy that matters. I think we often think it's limited to those who have a lot of money and leave a bunch of it behind or somebody in public service who is a high-profile person who lives well in the public eye.

"But legacy is for everybody and obviously the things that go into that are how we balance work with family life. I truly believe our relationship with God has a major part of the kind of legacy that is going to be left."

Sundberg understands not everybody has enjoyed a long and successful career like he has going back to when he was an All-Star catcher for the Rangers. But that does not prevent someone from establishing a strong and meaningful legacy for others.

"We take it from the angle of abuse," Sundberg said. "If you have been abused and the abuse hasn't been dealt with, it will be hard to get past some obstacles that will keep you from leaving a loving legacy. We are going to take a broad look at what legacy looks like and the elements of what leads to a good legacy."

Sundberg said the plan is to get people to focus in and prioritize things in their life that matters most to them and others.

"The concept that it's never too late to start," Sundberg said. "If someone comes out of prison, they have that chance to regroup and take that moment forward. It's never too late. It's getting people to think more long term on the things that have lasting benefit. A lot of that has to do with relationships. You really can't leave a legacy that matters if your relationships aren't in a good spot."

This is what's next for somebody who spent 35 years in baseball and is ready for the next challenge.

"I'm not going back to baseball," Sundberg said. "I have found something a little bit better that I am enjoying. It was a great run. But there is just a place on my heart of what is next for me."

It's all about helping people. Prostate cancer will not be a part of it.