Joe GIlliam was a solid linebacker for Purdue from 2011-14. As a part-time starter in those four seasons he amassed 103 tackles and a sack, with his best season coming as a sophomore in 2012. That year he had 57 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. The coaching transition to Darrell Hazell saw him play a smaller role in his final two years, but he was still a contributor both years.
Earlier this evening his former teammate, Robert Maci, provided an update on him:
Teammate of mine at Purdue battling his health a year after getting married. Help Joe Gilliam if you can https://t.co/O5idAlFC1q— Robert Maci (@BobMaci58) January 12, 2018
Here is the bulk of the story from his GoFundMe:
Most of you already know that Joe was a high school and college football star. He played linebacker at Southport High School in Indianapolis Indiana and later went on to play at Purdue University. He has been married to his wife Rachel & they just celebrated their 1st wedding anniversary in July of 2017. To celebrate his birthday, Joe & his wife, Rachel, travelled to New York City where things took a turn for the worse. They ended up in the ER due to him losing feeling in his left leg. An MRI showed that Joe had an inflammation on his spine and was causing him to lose feeling and function of his legs rapidly.
After 3 weeks of treatments, his neurosurgeon opted for an exploratory surgery where he expanded the lining of Joe’s spinal cord to make room for the swelling and discovered a tumor, which he had biopsied. The results showed that Joe had grade 4 spinal glioblastoma wrapped around his spinal cord. Because of the positioning, the tumor itself is inoperable.
Joe has been bound to a wheelchair since the ER visit in March and has undergone 3 rounds of radiation and 3 rounds of chemo. He has no feeling or function from his chest down.
Fortunately, wherever they treat the tumor it has disappeared; however, it grows around the treated area. Our last MRI showed that the tumor had grown to his brain stem which caused the loss of feeling to expand to his hands.
When Joe was at Southport HS I was often working there as a substitute teacher, so there is a good chance our paths crossed there a few times. He is a Boilermaker in need and I know we’re all family there. If you can, stop by his GoFundMe and drop off a few bucks.
Keep fighting, Joe. We’re behind you.