Almost three years ago, I learnt of the news that a friend (Ben C) from my days in college had been diagnosed with a brain tumour; the tumour was operable, thankfully, and he underwent a successful surgery in May 2013.
Six months later, as Ben celebrated birthday number 44, the news was good and looking better. Ben was preparing to take his kids to skate in, of all places, Fenway Park in Boston (the field was being prepared for the annual "Winter Classic" outdoor hockey match).
Today, heard that Ben has taken a bit of a turn, though he is still battling. The tumour has returned, and he has faced some rough seas.
More than 25 years ago, Ben and I were on the baseball team at Dartmouth; Ben was a better player than I was. In addition, he sang in the Dartmouth Aires, an a capella singing troop that has over the years, performed in many famous locations. There is footage of the group singing at Fenway before a Red Sox game, and for the US President, so it goes without saying, that Ben is a better singer than I am as well; my voice is tolerated by my little boy.
Above it all, Ben is a really nice guy, so in addition to being a better ballplayer and singer than I am, most importantly, he's a nicer person as well.
It's a bit of a cliche, but in this case, Ben is the sort of person we all should wish to be.
I know he's a Democrat, and I can overlook that. He's a Red Sox fan, which really tests the limits.
But he's also a fighter, a father, and a friend.
I don't like to talk a lot about religion, but here I will make an exception. I happen to believe in God, so each day I set aside a moment to say a prayer for Ben and his family. He (and they) deserve a break. For those of you who also are believers, I ask you to set aside a moment and say a prayer for these lovely people.
I also know that many do not believe in God, so for those who don't, think a positive thought. And set aside some time to do something kind for someone else, and do it because, if Ben were there, he would.
Ben's family have set up a GoFundMe web site here to help defray the costs of the battle. Like all battles, this is not a solo affair.
Please consider to go and support Ben's family and Ben in his war.
I am looking forward to pointing out the standings this October to Ben, when Toronto tops Boston again.