By Russ Atkinson
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/17/11
Shawn Friel, with a red Archbishop Carroll hoodie on his head, looked like any other high school student Saturday as he prepared to watch the Patriots meet host Malvern Prep in a non-league boys’ lacrosse game.
But this was a special game for Friel.
The game Saturday was scheduled to honor him as part of the 5th annual Evanfest lacrosse festival. Evanfest raises money for families that have a child suffering from a life-threatening illness. The event honors the memory of Malvern Prep alum Evan Brady, a standout youth lacrosse player who passed away in 2005 following a lengthy fight with Osteogenic Sarcoma (bone cancer).
Friel, a senior at Carroll, was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma last July. Unfortunately, the Evanfest tourney – featuring youth boys’ teams – was postponed last Wednesday to May 22 due to poor field conditions and the threat of rain. The game between Malvern Prep and Archbishop Carroll started as scheduled at 4 p.m., but was canceled in the second period due to heavy rains and lightning.
Friel’s fight, however, has not gone unrecognized.
A three-year defenseman at Carroll, he had come down late in the 2010 season with nagging shoulder pain that limited his range of movement. After consultation and an MRI, it was diagnosed as Osteogenic Sarcoma primary to the eleven tumors on his humerus (near the shoulder joint) with metastasis to his lungs.
Friel reflected on his diagnosis and how lacrosse has been a major part of his life and his recovery.
“We (my family) didn’t have time to react as the chemo started right away,” he said. “My friends took it harder, having time to process the whole thing. It shook us a little bit. My cousin jumped right in starting a benefit in October that really helped.”
Friel was thankful that the lacrosse community has shown great support. He has received financial support from Evanfest and his Carroll teammates used his nickname, “Shades,” as the motivation for their summer league team “Shooting for Shades.”
Friel has gone through 30 weeks of chemo and has been cancer free for two months. He plans to attend Cabrini next fall to study physical therapy.
Though he is unable to play lacrosse anymore due the implant of prosthesis in his shoulder, Friel draws from the energy of the sport.
“Lacrosse has been huge in this with HEADstrong and Evanfest helping my family through this financially,” he said. “And the lacrosse team has been really huge, naming the Carroll summer league tea
m ‘Shooting for Shades.’
“They raised a bunch of money for my treatment and presented it to me at the benefit. I probably wouldn’t have gotten through this without them.”
Tags: Archbishop Carroll