Shaun White Didn't Medal in the Olympics, but his Physical Therapist's Cancer Taught Him What Matters

L. Cane

At 35, Shaun White is arguably old the elder statesman of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.

The fact that he can still compete at this level at this age is in part a testament to his physical therapist, Ester Lee.

Lee's Therapy Changed White's Outlook in More Ways than One:

Ester Lee is a physical therapist based out of Los Angeles who works with high-profile athletes like Venus and Serena Williams.

Ester began working extensively with White seven years ago. She lives with him when he's training for the Olympics.

As you could imagine, this much togetherness has made them very close. Here's an example of Instagram:

Lee's taught White that rest and relaxation are every bit as important as physical training.

Unfortunately, another lesson she has taught White is that you can't take the time you've given for granted.

The Caregiver Becomes the Cared For:

In 2020, Lee noticed that she would get winded when she ran and that her stomach started protruding.

A short while later, Lee was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Lee says that Shaun "broke down" the day she told him of her diagnosis.

He shared with NBC a thought process that included questions like:

"How could someone who is such an amazing person and only gives to others have something like this happen to her?"

Lee Took an "Intermission" From Cancer to Support White in the Olympics:

Following the removal of a large tumor from her pancreas, Lee has been through "the wringer" with radiation and chemotherapy.

However, both Ester and White were determined that she would watch him compete in Beijing.

Ester has repeatedly said that she wants to live the best life she can regardless of what "the scans say."

And White was determined that she would do just that:

He pretty much told them, "Look, I might not go if she doesn't come with me, " explains Ester.

Despite Not Medaling, A Winter Olympics They Will Never Forget:

White got his wish. Ester was with him every step of the way in Beijing, and the experience is one that neither will ever forget.

While White may not have gotten the medal that he undoubtedly wanted, he has spoken very frankly about the fact that Ester's illness has put those same metals in perspective for him, saying,

"I love her to death. More than any Olympics, these sports, or any of the other stuff. To have her with me right now, it's everything. Because I didn't really think that I was going to have her with me."

For her part, Ester knows that despite cancer, in some ways, she has much to be thankful for. She's grateful for all the moments she's been able to share with White, saying:

"I've been the strong one for him for all these years. So for him to be the strong one for me has been really awesome. These moments are my favorite, that I'll never forget."

Comments / 31

Published by

Feel Good Stories, Good Causes, Animals, Families, Sports, Local Stories, TV, and Movies.

Tampa, FL

More from L. Cane

Comments / 0