September 9, 2012

"LIFE, FOOTBALL AND CANCER":

Dying child touched life of Lions' Stephen Tulloch (Dave Birkett, 9/07/12, Detroit Free Press)

He was on crutches, barely ambulatory and just back from Pensacola, Fla., where Dr. James Andrews had performed arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. So when Stephen Tulloch saw his publicist, Sherrie Handrinos, at his door one Wednesday in May, his first instinct was to shoo her away.

Handrinos picked up Tulloch from the airport a day earlier, and on the way home they talked about the upcoming charity softball tournament he was hosting with Lions teammate Nate Burleson.

The city of Dearborn, where the tournament was being held, had reached out and wondered: Would it be possible for a boy suffering from a rare form of brain cancer, 9-year-old Ryan Kennedy, to throw out the first pitch at the game?

Of course, Tulloch said. But then Handrinos talked to Kennedy's mother, and it became clear Kennedy wouldn't make it 3 1/2 weeks to the game.

So Handrinos rushed to tell Tulloch how urgent the situation was, and Tulloch agreed. He hobbled to his car and made the hour-long drive to Independence Township, one leg elevated the entire way.

When he got to Kennedy's quad-level home, Tulloch hopped up three flights of stairs, plopped down on the bed next to him and spent the next 2 hours playing video games, talking life, football and cancer with Kennedy and his family.
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Posted by at September 9, 2012 11:33 AM
  

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