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Lymphoma survivors Lester and Andruzzi continue taking the fight to cancer

Posted by David D'Onofrio  September 11, 2012 02:18 PM

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Katie Wells, Phoebe Davis, and Jessica Wells (left to right) pose with Joe Andruzzi -- and one of his three Super Bowl rings. (Elevate Communications)

On May 29, 2007, Jon Lester and Joe Andruzzi didn't realize it, but they were at different stages of a similar fight.

Lester was pitching in Pawtucket, where he delivered five scoreless innings thanks in part to being allowed to use his cutter for the first time since returning to baseball after beginning his battle with lymphoma. It was the very next day that Andruzzi -- the former Patriots lineman -- was told he had a form of lymphoma, too.

Monday in Boston, each took up the fight again. Only this time, they did so at the same stage.

Six years removed from his initial diagnosis, Lester hosted patients from Boston Children's Hospital, The Jimmy Fund, and Massachusetts General Hospital at a baseball camp along the banks of the Charles River, then Andruzzi marked five years of remission by joining his Joe Andruzzi Foundation at an (Up)Beat Cancer event at a restaurant in the Seaport.

Lester talks, signs, and throws with the campers. (

Andruzzi and his wife, Jen. (Elevate Communications)

Lester will continue his awareness campaign when he and his wife host NVRQT Night with Jon and Farrah Lester to benefit his NVRQT -- as in "Never Quit" -- Foundation on Sept. 24. With proceeds going to the battle against pediatric cancer, Mike O'Malley will emcee the event, which will feature a "3 Up 3 Down" game featuring celebrities in what seems to be some sort of Hollywood Squares-esque competition. The squares are still to be named, but tickets are currently being sold to be in the audience at the House of Blues.

At his event, Andruzzi introduced his foundation's (Up)Beat Cancer campaign, which contends that laughter is the best medicine to overcome the hardships of cancer. Monday night Andruzzi spoke about how laughing with his kids and friends helped him get through his recovery, and how he's now trying to bring that message of positivity to the beneficiaries of his foundation. That push will include pediatric hospital visits, patient events, and outings.

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About the author

Dave D'Onofrio follows Boston's pro players away from the field, court or ice, covering their interests and activities in the community and beyond. A Massachusetts native, once his dreams of More »

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