WASHINGTON, April 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the 2009 Major League Baseball season opens this month, Sharing Miracles, a 30-minute public affairs television program that tells the compelling and inspirational stories of real patients, will feature Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester. Sharing Miracles now airs every Sunday morning on more than 280 stations -- including WBZ-TV (CBS) in Boston from 11:30 to noon.
Jon Lester made his major league debut with the Boston Red Sox in 2006 at the young age of 22. However, after only nine games with the Sox, he was diagnosed with cancer - specifically, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
In this month's episode, Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein discusses the diagnosis: "We were almost more shaken by it than he was. He was calmer about it and took an almost business-like approach to it."
Lester explains: "Being diagnosed was surreal. I was in the emergency room, just trying to get some back pain under control. I spent a couple of days at home in Seattle, flew back to Boston to get some tests done, and found out that it was lymphoma."
With the determination he had developed as an athlete, Lester charged head-first into treatment with positive expectations: "Looking at the treatment process, the dates lined up perfectly with spring training. When I found out that once I had my last treatment, I'd have a couple of weeks to recover and enjoy being cured and then go to spring training, it gave me a huge boost."
Epstein elaborates: "He said, 'I'm going to step away for a little bit. You're not going to hear from me a lot...and I'm going to come back stronger.' And that's exactly what he did."
Speaking in this month's episode, scientist Dr. Karen Ferrante explains the advances made in lymphoma treatment: "The outlook for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients has significantly improved over the past few decades. Following treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, five-year overall survival is approximately 55 percent for adults and 80 percent for children. In addition, patients can live for many years in remission following successful treatment."
Still, it is a real threat to the thousands of Americans diagnosed each year. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 66,000 new cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (of which anaplastic large cell lymphoma is one) were diagnosed in 2008. Today, America's pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies are doing their part to develop new methods of treating those cancers, with more than 800 new medicines in development for cancer, including 88 for lymphoma.
Lester returned to the Red Sox lineup in July 2007, amazingly, picking up a win during his first game back: "I think my first win back after cancer was better than my first big league win on a lot of different levels," he says in this month's episode. "Coming back from cancer, being back in the big leagues, getting re-called up, and having my parents there, it was a big moment. And I hope on a greater level it helped out a lot of people that were struggling with whatever disease they may have been battling. Hopefully they saw that if they keep pushing and keep fighting, trying to be as normal as they can, good things can happen."
Lester continued to gain strength after his victory over cancer, pitching the 2007 World Series-winning game against the Colorado Rockies and, incredibly, pitching a no-hitter last year against the Kansas City Royals.
Spurred on by his own personal experience, Lester has become a public advocate for cancer research, serving as honorary chairman of The Jimmy Fund's 2009 Rally Against Cancer fundraiser.
Upcoming episodes of Sharing Miracles will feature Pro Football Hall of Famer and Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Ditka, who battles heart disease, and Basketball Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, who has diabetes.
Previous episodes of Sharing Miracles have featured Academy Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden, a breast cancer advocate; Grammy Award-winning country music superstar Naomi Judd, who overcame Hepatitis C; Emmy Award-winning actor Joey Pantoliano, who suffers from clinical depression; Super Bowl Champion and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, who has asthma; two-time NCAA tournament-winning
The new episode debuts April 5. Sharing Miracles airs on Sunday mornings on the following network-affiliated stations:
The show also airs on 234 community broadcast stations across the country and is available worldwide for viewing in its entirety at www.sharingmiracles.com. For free DVDs of Sharing Miracles, please contact the PhRMA press line at 202-835-3460 or go to www.sharingmiracles.com.
Community stations airing Sharing Miracles are located in the following cities: Anchorage, AK; Decatur, AL; Harrison, AR; Mountain Home, AR; Tempe, AZ; Bath, ME; Casa Grande, AZ; Chino Valley, AZ; Anaheim, CA; Compton, CA; Coralville, CO; Del Mar, CA; Gilroy, CA; Hayward, CA; Pacifica, CA; Pasadena, CA; Petaluma, CA; San Andreas, CA; Santa Barbara, CA; Aurora, CO; Golden, CO; Longmont, CO; Thornton, CO; Bridgeport, CT; Hamden, CT; Hartford, CT; Madison, CT; North Haven, CT; Plainville, CT; Simsbury, CT; Brooksville, FL; Coral Springs, FL; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Fort Myers, FL; MacDill AFB, FL; Tampa, FL; Palm Coast, FL; Atlanta, GA; Dallas, GA; Douglasville, GA; Fort Oglethorpe, GA; Hilo, HI; Ames, IA; Des Moines, IA; Fairfield, IA; Mount Vernon, IA; Olin, IA; Muscatine, IA; Coeur d'Alene, ID; Addison, IL; Aurora, IL; Batavia, IL; Glen Ellyn, IL; Lake Forest, IL; Naperville, IL; Romeoville, IL; Urbana, IL; Wheaton, IL; Bloomington, IN; Connersville, IN; Fort Wayne, IN; Lawrence, KS; Covington, KY; Highland Heights, KY; Louisville, KY; Bossier City, LA; Houma, LA; Lafayette, LA; Mandeville, LA; New Orleans, LA; Amherst, MA; Arlington, MA; Boston, MA; Brookline, MA; Carver, MA; Chelmsford, MA; Dracut, MA; Easthampton, MA; Foxboro, MA; Holden, MA; Hopkinton, MA; Leominster, MA; Lexington, MA; Longmeadow, MA; Lynn, MA; Marion, MA; Sandwich, MA; Worcester, MA; Easton, MD; Greenbelt, MD; Largo, MD; Rockville, MD; Bath, ME; Boothbay Harbor, ME; Bridgton, ME; Brunswick, ME; Madison, ME; Mexico, ME; Ann Arbor, MI; Cadillac, MI; Farmington Hills, MI; Holland, MI; Kalamazoo, MI; Lake Orion, MI; Manistee, MI; Portage, MI; Romeo, MI; Waterford, MI; Wyandotte, MI; Blaine, MN; Bloomington, MN; Champlin, MN; Coon Rapids, MN; Duluth, MN; Fergus Falls, MN; Hibbing, MN; Hutchinson, MN; Minneapolis, MN; Rosemont, MN; Spring Park, MN; Stillwater, MN; White Bear Lake, MN; Columbia, MO; Ste. Genevieve, Mol Hillsboro, MS; Vicksburg, MS; Great Falls, MT; Helena, MT; Albemarle, NC; Charlotte, NC; Knightdale, NC; Fargo, ND; Grand Island, NE; Hastings, NE; Omaha, NE; Claremont, NH; Derry, NH; Durham, NH; Londonderry, NH; Manchester, NH; North Conway, NH; Wolfeboro, NH; Bloomfield, NJ; Metuchen, NJ; Pomona, NJ; Princeton, NJ; Statewide, NJ; Albuquerque, NM; Los Alamos, NM; Santa Fe, NM; Taos, NM; Boulder City, NV; Carson City, NV; Minden, NV; Chappaqua, NY; Fairport, NY; Staten Island, NY; Tivoli, NY; Webster, NY; Athens, OH; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Defiance, OH; Fairborn, OH; Hudson; OH; Macedonia, OH; Medina, OH; Middletown, OH; Norwood, OH; Troy, OH; Perry, OK; Oregon City, OR; Silverton, OR; Ardmore, PA; Berwyn, PA; Bethel Park, PA; Gettysburg, PA; Harrisburg, PA; McMurray, PA; Moon Township, PA; Pottstown, PA; Reading, PA; Wayne, PA; York, PA; Franklin, TN; Germantown, TN; Murfreesboro, TN; College Station, TX; Denton, TX; Houston, TX; Kingsville, TX; Cedar City, UT; Logan, UT; Blacksburg, VA; Herndon, VA; Suffolk, VA; Barre, VT; Bellow Falls, VT; Bristol, VT; Burlington, VT; Hyde Park, VT; Manchester Center, VT; Middlebury, VT; Newport, VT; Springfield, VT; Waitsfield, VT; Bainbridge Island, WA; Bremerton, WA; Ellensburg, WA; Kent, WA; Longview, WA; Port Townsend, WA; Seattle, WA; Toppenish, WA; Dodgeville, WI; Eau Claire, WI; Hartford, WI; Janesville, WI; Lake Mills, WI; Madison, WI; Muskego, WI; New London, WI; Reedsburg, WI; River Falls, WI; Superior, WI; Waterloo, WI; Whitehall, WI; Wisconsin Rapids, WI; and Summersville, WV.
The show's corresponding Web site, www.sharingmiracles.com, is an interactive forum for people to relate their own personal stories of hope and survival. Every patient's battle is unique, but the collective power of shared experiences can offer great help and courage to others who are fighting for their lives.
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) helps uninsured and financially-struggling patients access information on programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free. To find out if they may qualify for help, patients should call toll-free 1-888-4PPA-NOW to speak with a trained specialist or visit www.pparx.org.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.
|SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America|
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