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Red Sox Pitcher Jon Lester Wins 2008 Hutch Award(R)
Date:11/10/2008

SEATTLE, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Left-handed pitcher Jon Lester, who came back from an off-season battle with cancer to pitch the winning game for the Boston Red Sox in the 2007 World Series, will receive the 2008 Hutch Award. The award is given annually to a Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication of baseball great Fred Hutchinson, both on and off the field.

The 24-year-old Tacoma, Wash. native made his Major League Baseball debut in June 2006. Lester ended the 2008 season with a 16-6 win/loss record and a 3.21 ERA with 152 strikeouts.

"This is a tremendous honor for me and my family to have been selected for the Hutch Award," Lester said. "I'm humbled to know that legends such as Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax and Lou Brock have won this award in the past."

Lester was diagnosed with anaplastic large-cell lymphoma in August 2006. Referred to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the treatment arm of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and recuperated at his parents' home in Puyallup, Wash. In December 2006, doctors determined he was cancer-free and in February 2007 he joined the Red Sox for spring training in Florida. After some work in the minors, he returned to the major league mound against the Cleveland Indians on July 23, 2007. Boston won the game, 6-2.

"Congratulations to Jon Lester on the Hutch Award. Jon handled his adversity with grace and dignity," said Red Sox Manager Terry Francona. "He is an inspiration to us all, on top of just being a really good kid."

Lester's experience with cancer has affected his life off the field and has influenced his fans. For example, he has taken time to meet young fans undergoing cancer treatment, and a group of Boston-area college students have started The Lester Project, which raises money for the Jimmy Fund, a cancer-research charity associated with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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SOURCE Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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