FORT BLISS, Texas -- Spc. Christopher Mask's given biological middle name is Dalton, however a walk in his shoes lately, one could easily say it could be changed to "blessed". The 21-year-old was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2018.
"I know that I have been blessed through my journey, so I am completely comfortable with that middle name," Mask said.
His journey began with two massive seizures that occurred in the fall and winter of 2017 and a third that occurred in January of 2018. Mask says the last seizure was a major wake up call.
"I was hospitalized after all three seizures. After having several MRI's the cancer was detected. I had six rounds of chemo and radiation, taking anti-seizure medication and very strict on when I take those medications. I'm currently in remission. I pray it doesn't come back. You can't take life for granted and you have to live every day like it's your last," Mask said.
After losing 45 pounds, the Florida native took his health into his own hands.
"Working out can be tough but I try to do my best when I'm feeling well. It's nothing but healthy food for me these days," Mask said.
He was recently selected to compete at the 2019 Army trials in Fort Bliss, Texas. He will join more than 100 wounded, ill or injured athletes competing for a spot on Team Army during the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games, June 21 - 30 in Tampa, Florida. Holmes will compete in a long list of events including; archery, shooting, golf, rowing, wheelchair basketball and seated volleyball.
Mask says the 2019 Army trials is more than a competition for him.
"It means a lot to me to make the team, I have been told that I wouldn't be able to do a lot of the things I'm doing and proving those people wrong. Every night I go to bed, I fall asleep knowing I've done what they said I could never do," Mask said.
Mask's favorite quote is one from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, which reads: "Out of every 100 men, 10 should not be there, 80 are nothing but targets and nine are real fighters. We are blessed to have them for the battle they make. Ah but the one, ONE of them is a warrior and he will bring the others home."