SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Prominent Australian sportsman Michael Wrublewski threw himself a farewell party after being told he has just months to live.
Wrublewski, the 63-year-old son of Holocaust survivors, is best known as the man who resuscitated basketball in Sydney.
He was diagnosed in June with an advanced stage of pancreatic cancer and told he had three to six months to live.
On Saturday night, more than 500 people gathered to say goodbye to the former Australian Maccabi organization president and former owner of the Sydney Kings basketball team. They included Leon Trimmingham and Dwayne McClain, former Kings players who flew in from America.
“Even today I still don’t believe them and I still won’t accept that the prognosis they’ve given me is the prognosis that I’ve got,” an emotional Wrublewski told the audience. “I’ll do everything to fight it, and if we can have another bloody reunion next year, it’ll be worth it. And if we can’t, well, I want you to know I’ve got absolutely no regrets.”
Born in Germany in 1946, Wrublewski’s parents survived Nazi concentration camps before moving to Israel, back to Germany and then, in 1955, to Sydney.
In an interview last week with the Daily Telegraph, Wrublewski recalled that in his early years in Australia, "I used to come home from school every day bloodied and beaten. Kids used to make fun of my name and what I was wearing.”
Wrublewski was appointed an officer of the Order of Australia in 1988 for his service to sport and he received the Australian Sports Medal in 2000. He also chaired the wheelchair basketball Gold Cup tournament in 1998 and was involved in helping Sydney to win the Olympic bid for the 2000 Games.