Friday will mark Lester's involvement with Nike and Livestrong to help "raise awareness, fund research and end the stigma about cancer that many survivors face." Lester will wear his yellow glove for every start at Fenway Park in July.
In 2006, Jon Lester was diagnosed, at age 22, with a rare form of non-Hodgkin's anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, interrupting his rookie season and threatening his life. Lester underwent six chemotherapy sessions in four months then miraculously made it back into baseball just under a year after hearing the news about his cancer.
In regard to his fight with cancer, Lester has never wanted the spotlight upon him. In fact, he's downplayed his ordeal at every opportunity. But those around the Red Sox pitcher see it differently.
Jon handled it all with quiet grace, determination, and a very positive attitude," says Red Sox President Larry Lucchino, who has himself twice survived cancer, including a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1985 that required a bone-marrow transplant. "Jon's become an inspiration for cancer patients all over the nation.Since returning to baseball, Lester has taken the mound 69 times if you include regular and posteason appearances. He has 27 wins, a 3.70 ERA and a no-hitter to show for it. But those statistics pale in comparison to the pride and admiration of Lester's friends, fans, and teammates for his on- and off-field accomplishments.
When Lester steps onto the mound Friday against the Kansas City Royals, no matter what the scoreboard eventually says, everyone wins as this 25-year-old man does just one thing more, in a long list of acts, to raise awareness for the fight against cancer.
And if there wasn't going to be enough electricity and magic flowing through Fenway Park Friday evening, don't forget that Lester's no-hitter in 2008 came against the very same Kansas City team he'll face when he's wears his yellow glove for the first time.
Nike will also launch an ad on their Wear Yellow site on Friday featuring Jon Lester. You can get a sneak preview here.