Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Good News, Bad News

Sore throat. Sniffles. A cold? I had one a couple months ago. I’m not ready for that again. I can’t find my gloves, so my hands will have to suffer when I’m at the rink in a few minutes.

These were the thoughts renting space in my head at 6:10 yesterday morning, as the AMHL photographer and I readied ourselves for the rink. We had a few minutes to spare, so she turned on the TV.

On Channel Four, anchors Scott Wahle and Paul Ebben introduced CBS4’s Day of Giving to benefit Children’s Hospital Boston, where reporter Lisa Hughes was set to interviewa cheery woman holding a little boy no more than six months old. Her son, who had been diagnosed with leukemia in November and then received a bone marrow transplant from his sister on December 1st, was infatuated with the microphone as his mom explained her family’s outlook on this Christmas. How were they coping?

Full steam ahead: With her husband at home with their other child—the parents are rotating shifts at the hospital—the family still plans to construct its backyard hockey rink.

Back to Scott and Paula in the studio, who informed my wife and me that, after the commercial break, we’d learn more about Phil Kessel’s mysterious illness.

Earlier this year, Red Sox rookie John Lester was diagnosed with cancer. Now a Bruins' rookie?

I forgot about my oncoming cold as we, in our comfortable home, contemplated that ominous word that seemingly every family must deal with at some point: Cancer? Why? How? What kind? How bad is it?

Kessel, we learned, has testicular cancer. 19 years old? In great shape? How does that happen? Cancer knows no age limits. Testicular cancer—the same kind Lance Armstrong beat—is rare and, with early detection, victims have a high survival rate. Good news.

But then more bad news: Bob Gainey, whose wife Cathy died of brain cancer in 1995, is dealing with the loss of his daughter, Laura. The 25-year-old volunteer crew member aboard the Picton Castle was washed off the deck of the tall ship during a storm in the Atlantic and has not been found after a rigorous search.

This triad of discomforting reports made me forget about my insignificant worries. A cold. So what. Nothing a little Zicam and a Chocolate Glazed Cake Munchkin couldn’t cure.

I wish it were that easy for the little boy who will hopefully skate on his family’s backyard rink, the young man who hopes to return to the Boston Bruins, and the Montreal Canadiens’ GM who must come to terms with yet another loss of the worst kind.
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