Dr. Sport: Passaglia’s inspiration recalled as he faces his own health fight

 

Memories: A hospital visit 14 years ago still resonates

 
 
 
 
Players and spectators surround B.C. Lions place kicker Lui Passaglia after he won the Grey Cup for the Lions with a field goal on Nov. 27, 1994.
 

Players and spectators surround B.C. Lions place kicker Lui Passaglia after he won the Grey Cup for the Lions with a field goal on Nov. 27, 1994.

Photograph by: Mark van Manen, Vancouver Sun

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SCENE & HEARD: The fact Lui Passaglia won’t be joining his 1994 Grey Cup teammates this afternoon as part of the B.C. Lions Wall of Fame celebrations has nothing to do with the fact he’s been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for colon cancer since last November. Jamie Taras, the Leos’ director of community relations responsible for rounding up that Class of ’94, happily reports: “Lui is on a golf trip with friends and spouses in the Okanagan. This was planned a long time ago and he didn’t want to cancel it.”

Taras, a decorated member of the Lions’ offensive line from 1987-2000, will be among the group of 1994 players being acknowledged at halftime of the B.C.-Montreal game at BC Place Stadium.

More blood tests and a CT scan are on Passaglia’s to-do list in August, but first comes a trip booked months ago to visit family and friends in Italy.

When the CFL Hall of Fame kicker went public in this space a month ago with his fight against colon cancer, he received a letter from a young fan of 14 years ago. In it, Patrick James Mulvaney reminded Lui how his visit to BC Children’s Hospital with an autographed Lions’ football and Grey Cup hat “lit up my world.” Patrick had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

“I felt as if I were alone, battling my own body for control of my health,” he wrote. “Your generosity and positive energy made my world that much brighter. The feeling of freedom and happiness you instilled in me as a boy left me with a respect much stronger than you would know.”

Patrick now lives on his own in a bachelor pad in Belleville, Ont. The autographed football and Grey Cup hat remain on display in his living room.

HERE ‘N’ THERE: Canucks’ legend Gino Odjick, diagnosed with a rare terminal disease attacking his heart, should know that while he wasn’t in person at last week’s Michael Cuccione Foundation golf tournament at Big Sky in Whistler he still played a major part in helping to raise $80,000.

Team 1040’s Bob Marjanovich, a longtime organizer of the event, relates that the bidding for an autographed Odjick jersey was so intense that owner Ken Richardson of Pastime Sports stepped up with three more Gino sweaters he had in stock at his shop in Surrey and all four sold for $3,500 each.

NHLers Shea Weber, Cody Franson, Evander Kane, Morgan Rielly, Victor Bartley, Max Reinhart and Colton Gillies joined CFL alumni Brent Johnson, Tom Europe, Chris Burns, Sean Millington and Guilio Caravatta for the Cuccione Foundation tourney. Marjanovich then headed for Sicamous and the Franson/Shea Golf Classic that raised $80,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation.

SHORT HOPS: Canuck Alumi members and active cyclists Jeff Bandura, Terry Bingley, Ken Berry, Gary Nylund, Doug Deacon and Phil Von Stephanelli helped raise a total of $160,000 in the eighth annual Ride for Hope in support of Canuck Place.

END ZONE: Retired sports columnist Jim Taylor wants to know what came in second when Redblacks won the nod in Ottawa’s CFL name-the-team contest.

drsport@telus.net

 
 
 
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Players and spectators surround B.C. Lions place kicker Lui Passaglia after he won the Grey Cup for the Lions with a field goal on Nov. 27, 1994.
 

Players and spectators surround B.C. Lions place kicker Lui Passaglia after he won the Grey Cup for the Lions with a field goal on Nov. 27, 1994.

Photograph by: Mark van Manen, Vancouver Sun

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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