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Lester ready to fight

Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  September 6, 2006 07:16 PM

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Speaking for the first time since he was diagnosed with cancer, a very poised and determined Jon Lester said that he will begin chemotherapy treatment this Friday.

Lester, who has been diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma, will have his first treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, before heading home to Washington state later this month to resume treatment at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

"Right now, I'm just waiting for that first treatment and fighting," said Lester. "If I'm back for spring training that's great. The doctors said I can work out during this whole thing. I can live basically a normal life as long I'm careful within a certain day period because of blood cell count or what not.

"Baseball right now is secondary. We got to fight this. We got to be a family. We got to stick together, and we got to beat this first. Once we do that we're going to start talking baseball and start talking spring training and getting ready for that. Knock on wood, God willing we'll be back in February and I'll see you guys Feb. 18. We'll strap it on and throw some bullpens and do all that stuff, but right now I'm just thinking about the first treatment."

Lester said the diagnosis was both sobering and shocking.

"I'm 22-years-old. I thought I was in the best shape of my life coming out here and pitching every five days, pitching at Fenway Park. What couldn't be better?" said Lester.

"Obviously, there's that denial. Why did it happen to me? What did I do wrong-type thing, but right now we don't have room for that.

"Right now, all it is is we got to fight this; we got to beat it, and God willing come February or March, whatever it is, even two years for now, we beat it and get it under control and then we're going to start thinking baseball and we're going to get back to baseball and get back to where I was last month, back to pitching and back to what I love to do.

"Until we do that, we got a long road ahead of us. I got a very good family and a lot of support and we're going to fight it and hopefully beat it."

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