During his almost 20 years as a professional polo player and 5-goal handicap, Brandon Phillips has captured some of the sport’s most coveted trophies. However, even though he has realized his dream to play at the top of his sport of polo, it is not the biggest goal he has achieved. Surviving stage four lymphoma has been his greatest accomplishment.
Brandon has been riding horses since he was 18 months old and at 11 played his first match at the Toronto Polo Club, becoming the youngest player there at that time. Everything seemed to be falling into place for Brandon until the day he woke up with severe swelling and an aching pain in his right leg. Twenty-four hours later, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Though Brandon’s parents did not tell him at the time, his doctor’s gave him six weeks to live. Brandon was 14 years old.
Brandon endured five grueling months of intensive chemotherapy sessions but never lost his spirit and never accepted death as an option. Brandon beat the odds and went into remission. Recovery meant returning to school and friends, but also an altered outlook that would change the course of his life forever. Those months spent in a hospital bed fighting for his life made Brandon realize how previous each moment is. Once he recovered, he made sure not to take anything for granted and was thankful for every new day. He vowed to dedicate his life to doing what he loved — playing polo. Since then, Brandon has established himself as one of the world’s most talented polo players.
With all his professional success, Brandon continues to remember the catalyst that changed the course of his life. He strives to be a role model on and off the field by dedicating much of his time to philanthropy by supporting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. While his dream is to one day win the US Open, his most important goal is a world without cancer.