Monday, January 31, 2011

Jon Lester

NESN, the cable network owned by the Red Sox, featured a series last week on the life and career of Jon Lester, Red Sox pitching ace and Non-Hodgkin's survivor.

It's in 5 parts, but the best are probably Wednesday's take on his cancer battle, and Thursday's return to the majors, highlighted by his throwing a no-hitter.

The articles are pretty brief, and they don't go into a whole lot of detail, but they're a nice reminder of the role that Lester played for our family.

He was diagnosed and cured before I was diagnosed, so when we told the kids about what was going on with me, I was able to point to Lester and his success to ease Peter's fears just a little. I was sitting with Peter and John on the couch when we told the kids; when I mentioned Lester having NHL, Peter's whole body relaxed. He understood immediately that Lester was a symbol of hope.

And I remember the night Lester threw his no-hitter, just a few months later. The kids were in bed, and Isabel and I were flipping through channels. We checked out the Sox score just in time to see that Lester was about to start the ninth inning with a no-no. I ran upstairs to Peter's room and told him what was happening. As I ran back down, Peter said, "Can I come watch?" (Such a good boy. It was after his bed time.) "YES!" I said, and went downstairs with Peter following.

That was a good night.

And Lester's a good guy. It took him a while to warm up to the idea that he was a role model for people with NHL and other cancers, and while I understand that he doesn't want cancer to define him, I also appreciate that he's done some campaigning to raise awareness.

Pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks. Go Sox. And good luck, Lester.

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