“When I found out about the lymphoma, I didn’t know what to do. The doctor told me that I should start chemotherapy as soon as possible, and that devastated me,” Vanegas, a professional golfer since 1997, explains. “You always think that such things are not going to happen to you, and when it touches you, its effect is very strong.
Vanegas began his chemotherapy on January 26. To date, he has two cycles and must complete four more. After that he hopes for a medical discharge that allows him to pick up his golf clubs again.
“I have received many calls and messages of encouragement in these weeks. Many Latin American golfers have reached out and shared those words that keep you going. In social networks, people have not stopped writing to me, and I feel that also for all those people who are waiting for my recovery I have to make an effort to get out of this stage,” he continues.
Without a doubt, Vanegas’ greatest support comes from his family. His four siblings, his parents, his two children and his wife have always been by his side, either literally or figuratively. They hope to see him beat this and return to the course again.
“As my (immune) defenses are low, my children have not been able to return to school because there is the possibility that they will catch COVID-19 and end up transmitting the virus to me. Despite being children, they understand the situation and have accompanied me in this process.”
Between 2012 and 2019 on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Vanegas played 27 tournaments. He was most active in 2014, when he saw action in 13 events—a year in which he tied for seventh at the Arturo Calle Colombian Classic. In his career, he’s also made 30 Korn Ferry Tour starts.
Although there is still time for him to hit balls again at the Farallones de Cali Club, where he has been a member since he was a child, Vanegas’ desire to get ahead is always present. This time, though, the battle has nothing to do with golf.