Young Athlete Near Boston Hit With Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Asbestos Exposure & Bans

Written by Tim Povtak

Reading Time: 2 mins
Publication Date: 08/04/2011

It’s not often that the Red Sox, Bruins and Patriots – Boston’s three high-profile professional sports franchises – join forces like this.

But it’s also not often that someone so young and so healthy is stricken with a cancer as rare as mesothelioma, which normally attacks older individuals after years of exposure to asbestos.

All three teams, in Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and the National Football League, have provided game tickets for the fundraising effort in support of Kevin Morrison, the 21-year-old former high school athletic star who is battling peritoneal mesothelioma.

The “Kevin’s Cause,” event is scheduled for Aug. 12 at a local restaurant, hoping to raise the money to cover the alternative treatment he needs but isn’t covered by the family’s medical insurance.

Morrison is currently being treated at the nearby Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, according to a press release from the Norwood Fire Department Local 1631, where his father works.

As a senior at Norwood High School (Class of 2008), Morrison was the captain of both the football and hockey teams.

Norwood is a tight-knit community of 28,000 located just 15 miles outside of Boston. It has rallied around the “Kevin’s Cause,” event. Concannon’s, a restaurant in Norwood, is providing the site for the evening. The Norwood Printing company and the Norwood Fire Department are selling the tickets, promoting the event. The town’s official website is running the press release prominently.

According to a family member who spoke with, details of Kevin’s current condition and future treatment will not be released, although friends and neighbors have been promoting the event through Facebook and Twitter, along with various websites.

Mesothelioma is no stranger to the area. The cancer has struck many times around Boston, particularly those in blue-collar professions, many stemming from work in the area shipyards, where asbestos exposure has been prevalent.

The normally-lengthy latency period – from 20 to 50 years – between the exposure to asbestos and the onset of mesothelioma symptoms is what has made Morrison’s case so notable, although not unique.

Austin Lacy, a former high school football player from Pasadena, Calif., died in June from complications stemming from mesothelioma, only a week before he was scheduled to graduate from high school.

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