Leukemia patient enjoys special return to Hoopfest




Posted on June 28, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 30 at 6:02 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- After two years on the sidelines, Steve Oberst was back where he belonged Saturday: on the courts of Hoopfest, playing with his best friends for the 14th time.

A couple of years ago, Oberst was diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer. He had already fought brain cancer years before that. Now, he’s battling leukemia.

MORE: Man battling leukemia plays in 14th Hoopfest

"I have a hard time breathing sometimes if I overexert myself," said Oberst.

He relies on an oxygen tank to get him through the games.

"I go in for two or three minutes at a time, get a little air, and go back in."

Steve doesn't let it slow him down.

"Just a sense of normalcy is all I was looking for,” he said. “[I] made a few shots--awesome!"

PHOTOS: Scenes from day 1 of Hoopfest 2014

In fact, Steve joked his team should have relied on him more.

"The biggest challenge was throwing me the ball. They wouldn't do it very often; they should've given me the ball twice as much," he said.

Oberst’s friends and family said they don't know how much time they have left with Steve, but they were focusing on the present.

"It's all about family and friends. We just like being together," said Lori Wordell, Oberst’s teammate.

CONNECT: Donate to Steve Oberst's family

Aside from Oberst’s team winning their first game, the first day of Hoopfest was extra special for Steve.

"We got great support, good family times--this is what Hoopfest is all about,” Steve said. “On top of all that, my granddaughter was born this morning. We got it made today."

"Those are the moments you can never have back, so it's good. It's a good day," said Steve’s wife, Susi Oberst.

CONNECT: Share your court photos with KREM 2