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Running to Live

Tony Campana is fast. There is no doubting the Chicago Cubs rookie outfielder's speed, as evidenced by a game on May 30, when he stole four bases. It just so happened that May 30 was also Campana's 25th birthday.

There was a time, when Tony was a kid, that reaching the age of 25 didn't seem a sure thing. Campana was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease at the age of seven, but a kind-hearted coach in Tony's hometown of Franklin, Ohio took notice of the skinny kid hanging around the ballpark and gave him a jersey and hat, effectively making him a part of the team. While his disease and the necessary chemotherapy treatments made it impossible for young Tony to play, he was thrilled to be a part of the club, eagerly cheering on his teammates and collecting the bats at the end of every game.

Eighteen years later, Campana is playing professional baseball in Chicago. His first game as a pro came in Cincinnati, a short 40-mile drive from his hometown. His parents, who always encouraged their son's participation in sports, were in attendance. Mark Lucas, Sr., the coach who first allowed Tony to be a part of his team back in 1993, says it was that encouragement, in spite of his illness, that allowed Tony to reach the vast potential on the diamond that he clearly had. For his part, Mark Campana says it was not difficult to let his son play.

It is speed that makes Tony a Major League talent. You have to wonder if, sensing that his time may have been running short, young Tony Campana learned to live as fast as possible. It has certainly served him well on the baseball diamond, but it may also be his greatest asset in life.

Tony Campana is fast. There is no doubting the Chicago Cubs rookie outfielder's speed, as evidenced by a game on May 30, when he stole four bases. It just so happened that May 30 was also Campana's 25th birthday.

There was a time, when Tony was a kid, that reaching the age of 25 didn't seem a sure thing. Campana was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease at the age of seven, but a kind-hearted coach in Tony's hometown of Franklin, Ohio took notice of the skinny kid hanging around the ballpark and gave him a jersey and hat, effectively making him a part of the team. While his disease and the necessary chemotherapy treatments made it impossible for young Tony to play, he was thrilled to be a part of the club, eagerly cheering on his teammates and collecting the bats at the end of every game.

Eighteen years later, Campana is playing professional baseball in Chicago. His first game as a pro came in Cincinnati, a short 40-mile drive from his hometown. His parents, who always encouraged their son's participation in sports, were in attendance. Mark Lucas, Sr., the coach who first allowed Tony to be a part of his team back in 1993, says it was that encouragement, in spite of his illness, that allowed Tony to reach the vast potential on the diamond that he clearly had. For his part, Mark Campana says it was not difficult to let his son play.

It is speed that makes Tony a Major League talent. You have to wonder if, sensing that his time may have been running short, young Tony Campana learned to live as fast as possible. It has certainly served him well on the baseball diamond, but it may also be his greatest asset in life.