Tonight at 7pm the Oregon Ducks will take on UCLA in not only a huge PAC12 series but the first ever Lupus Awareness Night hosted by the University of Oregon baseball team. My brother Jeff or “Bucky” as I’ve always called him “pitched” the idea to the baseball operations manager who got the ball rolling. Tonight my baby brother will throw out an honorary first pitch (he’s not scheduled to start) and deliver a short pre-game speech with my dad. There will be raffles, donation buckets, and a lupus information table manned by the lovely ladies of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Lupus Foundation.
Wednesday evening The Oregonian published a story on Bucky and me. Read it here! I had a 15 minute phone call with the reporter who then spoke with Bucky later that afternoon. Now yes if you read the article you will definitely get that my brother marches to his own “beat.” But, what surprised me is the fact that he knows how sick I can be.
When I was first diagnosed Bucky was only 12. Then I promptly left for college and didn’t return until three summers later. I was very ill that summer, unable to get out of bed most days with rounds of tests at the hospital. But, he was still a kid, running around town with his friends without a care in the world. After graduate school I moved home, Bucky’s senior year of high school. That year he did a project on lupus for his health class. He and his two friends interviewed me. It wasn’t until I explained my daily pains, lack of energy, and organ complications that he started to understand.
I don’t want to say my brother is selfish because he’s not. But, he comes across as very carefree. I took that carefree attitude as a lack of empathy. This article proved me wrong. Bucky may brush me off when I ask about the speech “I got it, yah whatever” but my dad told me he’s been practicing what he’s going to say. He’s acknowledging my fight to his teammates and the local reporters. He even got every guy on the Oregon baseball team to donate a few bucks to the Lupus Walk. The Oregonian article was posted to his Facebook page by his non-baseball friends and received hundreds of likes.
I wish so badly I could be in Eugene tonight to join my family. It’s been a year since I’ve seen Bucky and this week makes me miss him terribly. I couldn’t be happier than he’s helping bring awareness to lupus and encouraging others to do the same. I love you Buck.
If you’re in the Eugene area please head out to PK Park tonight (Friday April 19th) as the Ducks host UCLA. Get there early for the acknowledgement of Lupus Awareness Night.