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A request

John Tierney | Monday, April 20, 2009

A sophomore in my dorm was diagnosed with cancer in December of his senior year of high school. He has been courageously battling the disease every since.

He underwent multiple surgeries and received several rounds of chemotherapy treatments.

But his body was resistant to the chemotherapy.

Last year, doctors discovered that his cancer metastasized to his lungs.

Earlier this year, he had surgery to remove his lung, pleural cavity, diaphragm and a small portion of his heart.

Last week, he was put under hospice care at his home.

Throughout the surgeries and the chemotherapies, he has continued his life at Notre Dame. He spends as much time at Notre Dame as he is medically capable. He is an important presence in our dorm.

I am not close with this man. I am a year older than he is and we have never lived on the same floor. I mostly know him because we are both regulars at Tuesday night Mass.

I also feel a certain degree of kinship with him because he lived his freshman year in the room I had lived the year before.

He was able to return to Notre Dame for a couple of weeks following spring break. It was good to see him at Mass again.

You may read this column and know the young man to whom I am referring. I have left out his name from this column so I don’t reveal his identity. His family does, however, maintain a Web site that provides updates of his condition to the public.

According to the Web site, the family has received prayers and words of support from across the country and from Europe.

Even if you don’t know him, please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers during this Easter season.

One thing that sets us apart here at Notre Dame is that we like calling ourselves a family. We are held together by a common mother, the Lady on the Dome.

As a family, it is time to close ranks.

The young man’s parents are both teachers in Catholic schools. His mom teaches elementary school and his dad teaches high school.

His roommates are taking up a collection to help his family pay for medical expenses.

His family’s Web site is currently requesting prayers.

It also provides information for making online donations to cover his medical expenses.

I am not going to publish the Web site address here, but please email me and I can send you more information.

For our print readers, my email address is at the bottom of the page. For our online readers, you may contact me at jtierne1@nd.edu.

I am not associated with the young man’s family or with anyone else. I am merely a fellow member of the Notre Dame family interested in helping one of our own.

I request that you consider joining this fight.