Hope Springs Eternal
If you think it is tough for a Major League hitter to battle a Major League pitcher, try battling leukemia as a little boy, or as a young woman. Try battling myeloma. Try spelling it! That’s tough enough in itself! If you think it’s tough to play for nine innings, or to play 162 games, imagine how tough it is to go through chemo, crippling fatigue, morphine dependency, endless needle pricks, and chronic aches. Imagine going through it for just one day!
Today was a very special day at the City of Hope. Over 1,600 bone marrow transplant survivors and their friends and family gathered for a reunion. I was grateful to be amongst them, and to have the opportunity to see the embodiment of courage, and yes, of hope.
People gathered under tents, with plates full of delicous bar-b-qued chicken and hot dogs to celbrate life and the belief in its possiblities. These people have looked death in the face and have won. They had bright smiles, and the look of gratitude on their beautiful faces.
They are my heroes.
I told them that they had to believe in themselves. My father told me many years ago that tough times don’t last, but tough people do. It’s a tough, tough task to stay strong while battling for your life, and I commend and admire each person who fights that battle.
Today I was moved beyond words.
I commend Frank McCourt for his vision in partnering with the City of Hope and with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to creat ThinkCure. It is a foundation devoted to raising funds to research the cure for cancer. I don’t know when it will be, or by whom, but one day we will have a cure, and it is because of everyone who has banded together to fight this disease.
City of Hope has one of the largest, most successful bone marrow transplant programs in the world. To date, more than 8,500 people have received a bone marrow transplant at City of Hope. Bone marrow transplantation is a procedure that is considered standard treatment for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
City of Hope was one of the first hospitals in the world to perfrom bone marrow transplants. They began doing them in the 1976, the same year I began managing the Dodgers. My pitchers have complied many saves over me 20-year career, but far fewer than the lives that have been saved at City of Hope.
Each year, every patient who has received a bone marrow transplant at City of Hope is invited to the reunion event to celebrate their health and reunite with oter patients, their physicians and nurses.
I would also like to commend the nurses, and doctors, who have pledged a life of service towards others, who help those in their most desperate hour. When patients have doubt, they provide faith. When patients are in despair, they bring hope.
I wish all of those who have been inflicted with cancer, or who have stood next to someone they love while they fight the battle, I wish you the best of luck.