Editor’s Note: With the sport of baseball heating up the past couple of weeks, we revisited one of Mossy Oak’s Pro Staffers, Jon Lester. As a pitcher, Lester won the last game in the 2007 World Series. He pitched in games one and five for the Red Sox in the 2013 World Series and won both those games, enabling Boston to be the 2013 World Series championship team. Jon has been playing in the major League for 8 years as a pitcher and enjoys being outdoors.
Question: Jon, many people don’t know that you had cancer the first year you were called up to the majors and played for the Boston Red Sox. They may not know about the struggles you went through to beat cancer, rehabilitate yourself and get your body and your mind in shape to return to the big leagues. They also may not realize that you and your family believe in giving back, and you’ve established a charity called Never Quit.
Lester: My wife, Farrah, and I felt we needed to get involved with our community and wanted to give back to the community and the people who have meant so much to us. Not only did we want to give back to the Boston community, we also wanted to give back to the doctors, nurses, researchers, adults, children and their families who were fighting cancer every day, in the communities where the Boston Red Sox play baseball throughout the season.
When individuals donate to the Never Quit Foundation, the money goes to the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation based in Los Angeles, California. The money is distributed to all the research organizations that are fighting pediatric cancer. There are all types of other cancer-fighting organizations that do a great job of funding cancer research for adults. But many times, the public isn’t aware of the large number of children who daily fight some type of cancer. When we learned about the small percentage of money that goes into cancer research that’s distributed to pediatric cancer research, Farrah and I knew we had to get involved.
We sat down and talked about starting the Never Quit Foundation. Our son had just been born and he was about 6-months old. I told my wife, “If we weren’t in the position we’re in, if I only had an everyday kind of job, I can’t imagine how I would feel - knowing my child had cancer, and I wasn’t able to pay for all the medical expenses and research we needed to cure our son.”
We decided that we needed to work with and help raise money for pediatric cancer research. This is our third year for actively being involved in the Never Quit Foundation. Although we haven’t raised a ton of money, we have been able to make people more aware of pediatric cancer research, and why it’s so important.
For more information on Jon Lester, visit http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=452657.
Watch as Jon Lester talks about Never Quit: