A vet of the War in Iraq vet faces his biggest battle yet against testicular cancer. And he wants to get the word out to young men, don't ignore the symptoms. This cancer is highly curable, especially if caught early.
You can't miss the American flag hanging proudly outside Stephanie and Richard Hernadez's home in Tacoma. But you might not know the reason it's there.
"We found this cache, dug it all out and they blew it up in place and this was the crater it left...huge crater," said Richard.
Richard survived two tours of duty in Iraq and now this 28-year-old former Marine is fighting another enemy: cancer.
"I was diagnosed with testicular cancer," said Richard.
His doctor found a tumor. Three hours later, Richard was surgery.
"I kept telling myself, you know Richard it's probably just a sports injury, give it one more day the swelling will go down and it will get back to normal and it never did," said Richard.
Now he faces nine weeks of chemotherapy.
"I'm really proud of him. So many people he's met just have fallen in love with him. His attitude," said Richard's mother, Renee Gangloff.
Mom Renee sits through the chemo sessions at the VA Hospital in Seattle because Richard's wife Stephanie is pregnant and due November 19th with the couple's first child.
"It's been kind of challenging, bit we've had a lot of support so it's kind of almost a blessing because it gives us something to look forward to," said Stephanie.
The two met at age thirteen. She's been there through the deployments, the reunions and now this: cancer and a baby on the way. She's says it's made them both stronger and admires her husband's courage.
"He's just. he just has a new out look on life so humble and it's great to be a part of that and you know make a positive out of a negative," said Stephanie.
Richard may be humble, but he's adament about one thing: getting the message out about testicular cancer and its symptoms: pain and swelling.
"Young men out there, ages 15-35, please if you notice anything going on, get it checked out as soon a spossible. Early detection will be key and it could save your live," said Richard.
A fundraiser for the family will be held this Saturday afternoon at Java Billiards in Federal Way.