The last time Patch talked Hillsborough High School head boys basketball coach Ian Progin, it was early December and he was was six months removed from a brain cancer diagnosis and returning to coach his team throughout the 2011-12 season.
On Tuesday, Progin talked about how things have gone since, and the news continues to be good.
“The (basketball) season went well; I was able to hold up pretty well throughout the season and didn’t ever find myself getting too tired or too drained, which was good,” Progin said. “That was a little bit of a test, so to speak, to see how it would be, especially with the emotional part of it that comes along too.”
“I’m doing well, my family’s doing well,” Progin continued. “My daughter’s in kindergarten, so she’s going to school every day, and my son will be turning three next month. That’s the latest with my family.”
Progin’s treatment still is not quite over; the coach and guidance counselor is still going for a precautionary MRI every two months to ensure that the tumor does not return and due to start another five-day cycle of oral chemotherapy treatments on Friday. In light of this, doctors are encouraged by his continued recovery from having surgery in late May.
“It’s a cycle; I take it five days in a row out of the month, and then I’m off it for 23 days," he said. "I’m about to begin my next cycle this Friday, and last time I met with my doctor and had an MRI, things were good and encouraging. They had mentioned that they wanted me to continue with the chemotherapy for three more cycles, and then at that point, they would re-evaluate again.”
Meanwhile, the school and local communities are still showing support for Progin and his family. A new fundraiser, the Hillsborough High School Stand-Up Comedy Night, will be taking place on April 24. The fundraiser will feature comedians the Lucas Brothers, Jimmie Allinder and Adam Mamawala, a Hillsborough High School alumnus, the winner of the 2007 New Jersey Comedy Festival and a member of FunnyorDie.com’s “Thirty Under 30 to Watch.”
“(History teacher Bob Fenster) had come to me out of nowhere and had mentioned that there was a local comedian here in Hillsborough, and also some other comedians, who wanted to do a fundraiser for me and my family,” Progin said. “He just asked if this is I would be comfortable with. I said yeah. I said ‘Wow, that’s fantastic.’”
“We were very honored that someone would still want to do something for me and for my family, and so I had agreed,” Progin continued. “It sounds like it’s going to be a great night. What better than a comedy night?”
It’s just one more example of the supportive community that has lent a helping hand to Progin and his family over the past year.
“(The support) really hasn’t changed, to be honest," he said. "People still come up to me all the time and say that they’re thinking of me and ask me how I’m doing and ask how my family’s doing. For the most part, the support, the care and concern is still there, especially here in the building. I have a lot of terrific co-workers and administration.
“It’s a great town; it’s a great community. We really enjoy Hillsborough. I just really want to thank everybody who has been a part of all of these things. We really appreciate it and it doesn’t go unnoticed.”