Tomorrow night (Friday) I will head to the Trinity College ice rink (it's ice free right now) and walk all night in support of cancer research. That means there's only a little time left for donations! I know what you're thinking: who does this girl think she is, asking for money on a Red Sox blog, but I think cancer research is a cause we can all get behind.
I've written before about how my mother, who passed away in August, became a Red Sox fan for my benefit, so I won't reiterate that story. However, I do have another story of one of Red Sox Nation's own being claimed by the terrible disease.
Karen O'Neil was a teacher at my elementary school (the one I attended as a child, the one my mother worked at, and the one I substitute at now), and though I never had her, she was known schoolwide as the resident authority in all things Red Sox. Mrs. O'Neil had a cardboard cutout of a contemporary Sox player in her classroom every year, along with various posters, pencils, and coffee mugs. She wasn't shy about arguing for the supremacy of her team, and she was one of the only people I spoke to who really believed that the Sox would pull it out that Sunday morning in October 2004, when we found ourselves down 3-0.
Last summer, Mrs. O'Neil offered me a pair of tickets to an early May game (as a season ticket holder, and schoolteacher, she couldn't make a lot of the early games). Though the Red Sox lost (to the Rays, on a Lugo error), it was one of the most enjoyable games I ever attended, and I bought Mrs. O'Neil a Red Sox mug in thanks. I should have known she already had two of them, but nevertheless, she was thrilled with the gift: she was never one to be dissappointed with something associated with the Red Sox.
Karen O'Neil passed away earlier this year, after a long battle with cancer. I like to think she's somewhere in heaven, questioning Tom Yawkey, chatting up Ted Williams, and needling Babe Ruth.
I am walking tomorrow in memory of my mother, of Karen O'Neil, and of Melinda Puglisi, my second-grade teacher. I'm sure all of you know someone who is either fighting or was claimed by cancer, so if you have any money to spare - even if it's just $10 - please donate!