As most of you know, Tony was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late 2017. He immediately started on one of the standard chemo treatments which seemed to do its job for a while, but after several months the cancer became resistant and continued to spread. The second attempt using a different chemo cocktail not only ravaged his body with side effects, it also proved to be ineffective.
That's when Tony visited Dr Borazanci at the Virginia G Piper Cancer Center. Tony was a former elite athlete and a long time baseball coach. Additionally, he had made his living in the building industry, trudging around construction sites almost every day. But on that August day when he first met Dr. "B" and his staff, Tony was hardly able to walk, eat, or even talk without great difficulty. That day he confided in his family that felt he was entering what he called his "end of life" phase.
Dr. B disagreed. Not only did he insist that the way Tony was feeling was unacceptable, he also gave Tony and his family hope. He described multiple clinical trials and off-label uses for existing drugs that he felt could help. "But first," he said, "we've got to get you feeling better."
That day began a journey with Dr. B, Carol, Lana, Courtney, and the rest of the team at Virginia G Piper that gave Tony over two additional months of "quality of life". During that time Tony was healthy enough to enjoy two "family reunion" weekends with his kids and grandkids, celebrate the 21st birthday of his youngest son, the 40th birthday of his oldest son, the 36th birthday of his niece/surrogate daughter, the birthdays of three of his grandkids, and the wedding of his assistant coach/surrogate son.
There was one other thing Tony got to experience during that time. On Friday September 7th, the family gathered in Tony's home to watch the Stand Up To Cancer Live event broadcast on over 15 television networks. His wife Mary Anne had heard there was a pancreatic cancer survivor from Arizona that was to be featured. Indeed there was, and during the broadcast they also talked to her doctors - one of which was Tony's own oncologist, Dr. B, described as a member of the pancreatic cancer "dream team". We all cried and held hands. Mary Anne looked at Tony and said, "It looks like we got a good one."
Stand Up To Cancer directly funds the development and clinical trials of these treatments, giving people like Tony and his family hope. Sadly, Tony lost his battle on November 2, 2018. His family continues to support Stand Up To Cancer and the spirit they foster - to continue to fight this dreaded disease with everything they have. Just like Tony did.
I want to personally thank you for any contributions you can make towards our goal of $4477. We set this goal in honor of the jersey numbers Tony wore - "4" as a player and "77" as a coach.