During his time as a Miami Dolphin, Mark Duper was referred to as ‘Super Duper’ because of his ability to catch almost anything that came his way from Dan Marino. His 11-year tenure in the NFL, all of which were played with the Dolphins, saw Duper catch 511 receptions for 8,869 yards, while scoring 59 touchdowns. He had four 1,000-yard seasons and in 1984 had a career best; 71 catches for 1306 yards and 8 touchdowns. Named to three Pro Bowls and a two-time All-Pro selection, Mark Duper is still fondly remembered by many Dolphins faithful.
Today Mark takes on the name ‘Super Duper’ for reasons far from his ability on the football field. Mark was diagnosed with kidney cancer in early January of this year after doctors found a tumor on his right kidney nearly the size of a football. With the positive confirmation that the cancer had not spread throughout more of his body, Duper underwent a nearly three-hour operation to have his right kidney removed. With the tumor now removed from his body, Duper is feeling like his old self but is well aware of his fortune in finding the disease as early as he did and is now more motivated than ever to raise awareness and fight this deadly disease.
“It’s all about how you take care of yourself and how you approach life,” Mark explained. “I just feel that I’ve been given a second chance in life and I feel that my token of appreciation for what God gave me is that while I’m on this earth I should give to others,” said Duper.
Mark has always been proactive within the community; it was during the Dolphins Cycling Challenge, a 150-mile bike ride to raise money for the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center on November 5, 2011 that Mark first felt the discomfort from the growing tumor. His continuing growing efforts to raise money and awareness for cancer treatment is closely matched to his work with troubled teens whom he stresses education to.
“I do a lot of charity work, not just for cancer, but for kids that are in distress,” Duper said. “I do scholarships for kids to go to college, helping better themselves to help others in life.”
As a professional athlete it can be very difficult living your life in the media, especially as a role model for today’s youth. Duper has always recognized that aspect and has embraced it with the best of intentions.
“Football is a profession that is well recognized, even more than the other pro leagues in the United States which means that people look up to these guys coming out of college playing football,” Duper remarked. “It’s great because if the younger generation sees us doing things, doing good, they will hopefully grow up doing the same thing. Hopefully that trend continues for generations and helps build a good society.”
Mark ‘Super’ Duper is now only dealing with the pains from his 11-year NFL career and is very aware and thankful for his survival. Cancer is a scary thing and can change one’s life in a heartbeat. Positivity and hope are powerful things and for Mark Duper they are both essential if ever faced with this battle.
“Surround yourself with positivity and never give up hope. Always be positive, keep a positive mind and a clean body. I think with the grace of God, the good Lord you can over come this with a positive mind.”