Mike Gilmartin Honored With UIC INSPIRE Award

Mike Gilmartin is the recipient of the 2012 UIC

Mike Gilmartin is the recipient of the 2012 UIC

Oct. 1, 2012

CHICAGO - Mike Gilmartin, UIC's head Athletic Trainer, was named the 2012 UIC "INSPIRE" Award winner Monday, it was announced by the office of the Chancellor.

The award recognizes individuals who have based their work and daily attitudes on UIC's core values of Integrity, Nurturance, Service, Pride, Intellect, Respect and Excellence.

June 13, 2012 marked the one-year anniversary of Gilmartin returning to work in the UIC athletic training room after a nearly eight-month battle with cancer. What began as a small joke during the summer of 2011 on Mike's neck, a lump about the size of a half of a golf ball, was no longer humorous at all when on November 20, 2011; Gilmartin was given the sobering news he had cancer.

Through perseverance, positivity and love and support from so many around him, Gilmartin was able to endure radiation, five times a week for seven weeks straight, including three rounds of chemotherapy. As a result of the damage from the chemotherapy, he was unable to speak for lengths of time, relying on a marker board or e-mail to communicate.

Since overcoming cancer, he has regained his voice, while still dealing with things he has been told will never be "normal" again. His taste buds returned to nearly full strength as of March 2012, but due to the cancer, he has a much lower salivation level, and as an avid runner, he needs to hydrate much more frequently. He also has a slight loss of hearing, but Gilmartin doesn't consider any of these things major - or even minor issues.

Mike doesn't take a single day for granted. He has sworn off road rage and more than any other time in his life, he recognizes if something is out of his control, he doesn't worry about it. He now looks for ways to "pay it forward" through helping others who have been struck by cancer as a way to show his appreciation for all of the people who helped him through his own struggle.

Gilmartin will be presented the INSPIRE award at the Employee Recognition Award Program inside the UIC Forum Nov. 1, 2012.

For more information on Gilmartin's story, CLICK HERE.