I was soo gald to see this in the leader post today. It was great to get a good story about Kerry in there. He really is a stand up guy, and an asset to this community. Also one of the better articles Van Stone has ever wrots normally nothing bug garbage comes out of that guy.
ROB VANSTONE Kerry Joseph is accustomed to being a recipient of fan adoration. However, the roles can occasionally be reversed.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback quickly became an admirer of Erin Lawrence — a terminally ill cancer patient whose final days were enhanced by Joseph.
Lawrence died Aug. 6, one day before her 21st birthday, from the same form of stomach cancer that claimed her mother at age 29.
The courageous Lawrence left such an impression on Joseph that he wears an “I Love Erin’’ wristband during games. “She’s someone I was really blessed to meet,’’ Joseph said Wednesday after he was named the CFL’s offensive player-of-the-week for the third time this season. “It was just an opportunity to go and meet a big fan of ours who was fighting for her life.
“It just touched my heart to see her spirit. People in her situation, knowing there’s no cure, could really be down in the dumps but she was a real high-spirited person. All she wanted us to do was go out and win as a team and go on and win the Grey Cup. Just meeting her and seeing her attitude really touched my life.
“You go through so much in life that sometimes you complain about the little things and you don’t realize how blessed we are. Just to meet her family and see the support that they give to us, it was just an honour.’’
Joseph, who turns 34 today, was introduced to Lawrence the day after one of her friends contacted the Roughriders. The community-minded quarterback visited her at Pasqua Hospital on July 27 — one day before Saskatchewan defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 54-14 on Taylor Field.
The following day, Joseph returned to the hospital with teammate Yo Murphy and presented Lawrence with a game ball and some autographed Roughriders paraphernalia. In turn, Joseph was given the wristband.
Lawrence died nine days later. Joseph responded by writing a letter to the family, telling Lawrence’s loved ones about the lasting imprint she left in such a short time.
“Erin fought her cancer from the beginning to the end,’’ Lindsay Prystupa, one of Lawrence’s best friends, said via e-mail from Cranbrook, B.C. “She never let her cancer get in the way.
“She went camping on the May long weekend, had season tickets for the Riders, enrolled in her classes for the U of R in the fall, and she had a trip planned to Edmonton for the Keith Urban concert.
“She never complained about the pain, and would even crack a joke. Even as her pain progressed, she was more concerned about others than her own cancer. Even if we had a stomach ache or a simple headache, Erin would feel worse for us than herself.’’
Prystupa and another one of Lawrence’s friends, Megan Mohr, met Joseph when the Roughriders visited Calgary for a Sept. 15 game against the Stampeders. Prystupa and Mohr were so grateful to discover that Joseph was still wearing and cherishing the “I Love Erin’’ wristband.
Jill Wenzel, another one of Lawrence’s friends, met Joseph while he was signing autographs last week at the Woman’s World trade show. When Wenzel mentioned Lawrence’s name, Joseph responded: “She changed my life.’’
“It kind of reminded me of when I lost my dad — just seeing her in the hospital and seeing that smile on her face, knowing that everything was going to be all right,’’ said the devout Joseph, whose father died of congestive heart failure. “She was a Christian girl, so she knew she was at peace with her situation. She had lost her mom to the same illness.
“It was a humbling experience and it’s something that I hold dear to me. It’s something they didn’t ask for, but it’s part of life. You just want to pray for them and keep them in your spirit.’’
The same attitude is maintained by Lawrence’s circle of friends — the closest of which were Prystupa, Mohr, Nicole Sarauer, Ali Pulvermacher and Tricia Fluter.
“Erin is an inspiration to us all, for we are very grateful for having been so lucky to be friends with her,’’ Prystupa concluded.
“Erin is now the wings on our backs and will forever be with us.’’