Knight Fan Stan cheers through chemo

Beloved by students, Brian Stanley beats cancer and returns to stands

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Weakened by chemotherapy treatment, but strengthened by enthusiastic fans in Bright House Networks Stadium, Brian Stanley, known as Knight Fan Stan, climbed up the metal stairs of the Bounce House at the UCF’s season opener on Aug. 3.

He was released from his first of 12 three-day chemotherapy treatments just two hours before kickoff, but he wasn’t going to let that keep him from cheering on the Knights.

“I don’t think it’s going to stop him,” said Renee Kirwan, Stanley’s sister, age 50. “I don’t think anything can stop him.”

In late March 2015, Stanley went to a routine colonoscopy, but the results were anything but routine; He had colon cancer.

After finding a 2-inch tumor in Stanley’s colon, the doctors removed 12 inches of the organ in April, and he was officially cancer free. But the aftermath of chemotherapy treatments he will be enduring until February is taking its toll on his ability to cheer as energetically.

“Whenever anybody says the “C” word everybody gets scared,” said Kirwan, a UCF alumna of 1987 with a BSBA in marketing. “But it turned out to be very positive, and they seem to have gotten it all.”

Some fans have recommended that he take the season off from pumping up the student section with his personalized, iconic signs that display sayings such as, “Every day is a great day to be a UCF Knight” and “Nobody better than UCF students.”

“If you know me, or you ask my wife and family, they say that that’s not me,” the 53-year-old said. “It’s hard for me to sit in one place at one time. I always have to be on the move. So for me to sit there during a game, it’s just like I have ants in my pants.”

Stanley earned his associate degree at Seminole State College and has been at every UCF football home game since the opening of BHNS in 2007 — enduring rain, shine and chemotherapy.

“It’s a wake-up call for everyone becoming our age to get screened for cancer,” said Robert Brownrigg, 48, a close friend of Stanley.

Brownrigg, a UCF 1989 alumnus with a liberal studies degree, remembers meeting him about nine years ago when their daughters played soccer together in elementary school. Since then, their friendship has grown through UCF football and school functions with their kids.

Stanley and Brownrigg both vividly recall the UCF versus Marshall game on Oct. 8, 2011.

“It was raining, very heavy rain storm, and he was out there with his signs and a poncho on still going strong,” Brownrigg said as he dubbed it the “monsoon game,” which UCF won 16-6.

“Every game’s a memory,” said Stanley as he expressed his excitement after UCF beat the high-ranked Houston Cougars 19-14 on Nov. 9, 2013. “There’ll be more memories.”

Kirwan said she remembers one game when a male friend of hers came out of a bathroom in BHNS and showed her one of Stanley’s business cards he found at the urinal.

“That was just a reminder that I know he’s everywhere,” Kirwan said with a chuckle.

When Stanley isn’t attending Knights’ games, he hosts The Knight Fan Stan Show on OrlandoSkyRadio.com. For the last few years he has used this online-streaming radio station to play classic rock, jazz and more from 8 p.m. to midnight, five days per week. He also conducts interviews with UCF students, alumni and fans about what the Black and Gold means to them and their involvement with the university’s sports.

Stanley is also the owner of Jet Set Printing in Casselberry. His statement signs at football games were printed off those very presses, and, since 2010, he has tried to make a new slogan on a fresh sign for each football season.

“Once I get a clean bill of health moving on, I’ll be able to cheer for many more seasons to come,” he said. “There’s always next season and the season after that and the season after that, right?”

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Paige Wilson is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @ByPaigeWilson or email her at paigew@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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