The Third Side Of Lee Trevino
Continued (page 2 of 2)
"Listen," Lee said. "St. Jude's is the best. Everything they need to treat these sick kids is right on site: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, physical therapy, everything. The families actually move down there while this goes on. And it's free. St. Jude's is the best, but they have one rule: They want the kid from the minute they're diagnosed. If you're in the middle of treatment somewhere else, they won't take you, because they want to treat them their own way and track them from day one. They never violate that rule."
"Well, I guess we won't be going to St. Jude's," I said.
Lee put his arm around me. "I want you to know something. My whole career, I've had only one charity, and it's St. Jude's. I won the St. Jude's tournament three times, and I've done a lot for them down there. I don't talk about it, but let's just say I've done a lot for my favorite charity over the years."‘Lee's eyes started To well up. He hugged me tighter.’
Now Lee's eyes started to well up. He hugged me tighter. "I don't know if you're happy with the care you're getting up here or whether you have good insurance. Treating cancer isn't cheap. But listen: If you want to take your kid down to St. Jude's, I'll make a phone call. I'll ask them to help us. They have that rule, but if they don't break that rule for me after all I've done for them, well then, they've lost Lee Trevino."
I broke down over that. All of the fear and tension I'd concealed over the last month to be strong came pouring out of me. In that time of crisis, many people had rallied with support. But having Lee Trevino on my kid's side was something else again. For him to stick his neck out like that, and immerse himself in something so unpleasant for someone he saw twice a year, was profound. At that moment, under the shade of that big oak tree, Lee was like a spiritual being. All the energy, determination and force of will that had lifted him from abject poverty to become one of the great athletes of all time was now focused on my sick child. He exuded power, understanding, kindness and anger at the injustice of it all. I'd known about the two sides of Lee Trevino, and now I was experiencing that wondrous third side. Lee was transformed into a warrior angel eager to lift a terrible, swift sword against something evil, with all his might and no reservations.
"We'll get her better," Lee murmured, patting my shoulder, "We'll get her better. There now, partner, it'll be all right. We'll get her better."
It wasn't necessary for me to call Lee, and who knows if St. Jude's could have accommodated such an awesome request, even from him. My daughter survived, and despite some scares and setbacks, is with us still. Today, with sufficient time having passed that I can look back on those first dark days without my stomach churning all over again, I realize it wasn't just luck and the skill of many doctors that helped my child and our family survive. Prayers helped, too, and I've always believed that the magical third side of Lee Trevino was the greatest prayer of all.