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Kevin Hieronymus

Play for Danny: a cause to believe in

I’ve met a lot of great kids covering sports in Bureau County the past 26 and a half years and become friends with many of them, now, who are all grown up. One of the first kids I met when I arrived in Bureau County was Danny Gelsomino of Princeton.

Danny was a kid who loved his sports. He was a steady guard for Tony Lavorato’s last Tiger basketball team in 1986-87 and a solid player for the PHS baseball team. I hope he doesn’t remember one of the first stories I wrote about him.

We played a lot of good H-O-R-S-E games at his driveway hoop on Miles Court, back when I still had a little game. I think he’s still looking for some revenge.

Danny, the son of Vince and Jeanie Gelsomino of Princeton, is a father of two beautiful kids, Kasey 13, and Nathan, 10. They look like real chips off the block, sharing a love for their dad’s sports teams from the pictures I’ve seen.

Well, Danny could use our help. He was diagnosed with incurable Stage 4 Adenocarcinoma (lung cancer) and bone and brain metastasis on Feb. 6, 2012. He is among 4 percent of non-smokers who have lung cancer. He had more tests done Monday and the family is praying the cancer has not spread.

Nathan Gelsomino’s self-portrait he drew in school this year displays a shirt with two words: “I believe.” That’s his way of saying he believes his dad will beat cancer.

His friends back home are ready to help him with his battle and to defray some of his medical expenses. The 1987 PHS graduate has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Jay Braida Golf Open, to be held July 13 at Hunter’s Ridge. Sign-ups are coming in good, but there is still a need for more golfers, sponsors and items for silent auction.

I can’t think of a better guy to help out. We can help him and his family along the way. Be sure to sign up or help out in any way you can.

For more information, visit jaybraidamemorial@gmail.com or check it out on Facebook. You can also call Michael Robinson at 815-878-1861

The Braida Open, now in its fourth year, is held by the friends of Jay Braida, who passed away June 19, 2005 after a battle with cancer. Jay was an overall great guy,

• Angel in the outfield: I was heartbroken to hear the loss endured by Bureau Valley softball coach Brian Humphrey, whose newborn daughter Parker passed away April 19. His family’s loss is shared by the entire Bureau Valley community and many others. The Storm coach can take comfort he will always have his little angel in the outfield no matter where he plays.

• Get well wishes: Every athlete has had a coach influence them along the way coming through the ranks. One coach who surely effected the players in the Princeton football program in the ‘70s and ‘80s was assistant coach Steve Kiser, the mastermind of the Tiger Style Running Wild theme song for the 1989 state runners-up. He is recovering from an April 4 accident and doing much better. If all goes well, he will return home soon. Get well soon, Ki.

I’d also like to pass best wishes on to my pal Don Smith, one of my favorite Cub fan friends. I understand he is doing well after suffering a heart attack while volunteering as he always does for community projects. Get well, Smittie. The Cubbies need you up and at them.

• Looking to help out a young athlete chase his dreams, Garrett Duffin might be your answer. The PHS sophomore has aspirations to play Division I basketball and will play AAU ball this summer to take a step in that direction. It can be a costly adventure and he could use some financial help if anyone would like to help. Give him a call at 815-872-0689.

Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR sports editor. Contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com

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