Conor’s Story


At first this might seem like an odd word to describe someone who went through what Conor went through but what this word represents is Conor’s passion and love for the game of baseball. You might think it’s not unusual for a teenage boy to really like a sport so that is not all that special.   This is a bit different in Conor’s situation as his passion for baseball and wanting to be able to get back and play this sport is what helped drive him through some very difficult times during the course of his treatments.   This just wasn’t love for a game to Conor it was much more than that. He partially lost the full use of his right arm due a surgery he had to remove the tumor in his upper right arm. Conor was a left handed pitcher but he had to re-learn how to throw with that limited use of his right arm and mobility in his shoulder. He worked on this constantly whether in his backyard or with practices with his team. There were many times Conor would get a chemo treatment for several hours in the afternoon and then join his team for practice that night even on some very hot summer days. We told him that he needed to be careful and that he couldn’t push himself too hard but he just didn’t want to hear that he needed to be on the field with his teammates. He used getting back to baseball and playing baseball as his goal to help drive him through his situation. His only question once the doctors told him he had cancer and that he needed to get open heart surgery and later a replacement of his upper arm – was how quickly can I get back to baseball???

Conor taught us that having a passion for something in life will help drive you and help you get through life’s darkest moments. There are many other things that we can rely on in life’s dark moments…family and friends, and religion but Conor proved to us that having the drive and love for a sport can also be something that we can rely on.


This is a word that goes hand in hand with courage. It’s the ability to continue to fight through adversity and the lack of success in accomplishing a goal. Thomas Edison once said that many of life’s failures were the result of people who didn’t realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Conor didn’t really have a choice, his life was on the line he couldn’t give up. A great example of this was just after Conor had his first long round of chemo treatments – it was about five months and he had all his surgeries to remove the tumors from his body – we met with the doctors after he had another round of scans and tests and they said he was cancer free but there were a few minor spots on the PET scan that they wanted to watch. They told him he would be done with chemo and that he would just need to come back every three months for a checkup and some scans. Three weeks later they called back and said they had mis-read the scans and the minor spots were not minor spots they were new tumor growths and Conor would need to start chemo again. This was in March 2010 and Conor had planned to re-join his school baseball team in the spring for workouts. He told us he didn’t want anyone to know about the re-start of the chemo and the new tumors so we kept it quiet for the most part except for family and some close friends. He still re-joined his team that spring and made it back from every chemo session to practice or games. This was a minor setback in Conor’s mind – he was still going to win and get back on the field with his teammates.

He did get back on the baseball field in the fall of 2010 and played some games with a local team and a travel team and he really enjoyed being back in the game. We have a picture of his first at bat in his first game back since he got sick and that picture is on the front of the tee shirts that we give out at the Run for Courage. That picture is a very important picture to our family and it sits in our family room today to remind our family that we need to fight every day for what we want to do in life. It reminds us of Conor’s spirit.


The definition of courage from Merriam Webster- Courage is mental or moral strength to withstand danger, fear or difficulty. According to Mark Twain, courage is the resistance of fear, the mastery of fear not the absence of fear. I think Twain got this right in Conor’s situation. Mastery of fear but not the lack of fear. You would be pretty crazy not to be afraid if you were diagnosed with cancer. It’s natural to be afraid but Conor showed us that it’s how you react to that fear that is important. How do you approach every day life in a situation in which it’s completely logical to be afraid? Conor approached it by getting up every day and treating it like a normal day. He wanted to go to school and be with his schoolmates, he wanted to go to baseball practice and games and be with his teammates and his friends. He wanted life to be normal again. Many mornings I would watch him get up in pain and get ready for school and walk to the bus stop and I would just think what courage he has to get up and do this every day. Do what you have to do to get through the day and make it to the next day. We all think of courage as something that is big and bold……………reality is that it’s not big and bold and that its normal everyday situations in which people are courageous. Conor showed us as a family what courage means in a very simple sense – do what you have to do every day to move the fight forward a little bit every day.

This is the reason we named the scholarship that Conor’s Foundation gives out the Courage Award and the reason that we named our primary fundraiser for the Foundation – the Run for Courage. There are many people who are incredibility courageous every day dealing with adversity in their lives. There are students at Spring-ford High School who are courageous every day and none of that courage is big and bold or out there for all to see. Many of these very courageous students are fighting their battles right now as we speak. Whatever we can do to recognize them and give them support could be the thing that makes the difference in their lives.