The bad news arrived Aug. 24: Shannon Kerley, who will be 3 years old next month, has leukemia. Her parents, Jim and Kathy Kerley, of Silver Spring learned this from doctors at Children's Hospital in Washington. They had taken Shannon there with a low-grade temperature. Tests were advised, tests conducted and a fear affirmed: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The news traveled through the family fast.
Shannon's aunt, Patty Kerley Lewis, was in Pasadena, Anne Arundel County, worrying about all this and wondering what to do. "I felt so removed," she says. "All my family is in Prince George's and Montgomery counties, and it's so frustrating because I don't feel I can do enough for them. I don't live close enough to baby-sit easily, you know . . . I just wanted to do 'D something."
So she's selling her tickets to Wednesday night's Orioles game -- Cal's record-breaking game. And she's going to use what she gets to help defray Shannon's hospital expenses.
Patty Lewis and her husband, Chuck, have season tickets in Section 66, Row JJ. "They're left field boxes, about 10 rows up, right behind Brady Anderson," Patty says. "My husband and I decided we want to sell the tickets to help Shannon. I'm a baseball fan, but I won't lose any sleep over not going to the game. My husband will, though. . . . Still, we both knew, right away, it was the right thing to do."
Shannon Kerley has a curable childhood disease. "We were told the cure rate is 80 to 90 percent," says Shannon's mother, Kathy Kerley. "She's already started chemotherapy and will go three days a week. They hope to have her in remission in one month." But the child will need additional chemotherapy and drugs over 2 1/2 years.
Right now, most of her medical costs are covered by Kathy Kerley's benefits at work. But she works in the operations side of Woodward & Lorthrop, which was bought out last month by May Department Stores and J. C. Penney. "My job is over Oct. 31," says Kathy, who has been employed by Woodie's for 15 years. She's applying for a job with May and Penney but doesn't know if she'll get one -- or if she'll get medical benefits. Her husband, Jim Kerley, is a real estate appraiser. The family had relied on Kathy's benefits for health insurance.
So, there's the situation.
And here's the deal: Aunt Patty and Uncle Chuck will give whatever they get for their two Cal Game tickets to help defray the costs of their niece's medical treatments. Patty will take $500 or best offer. Make your best offer by calling This Just In at 332-6166. The cutoff for offers is 11 o'clock tonight.
Sweets for the sweet
Cathy Booth wrote that "Dear Cal" poem you might have seen back in the Sun classifieds last week. She appealed to No. 8 for a ticket to Wednesday night's game. I spoke to her -- after she had spoken to just about everyone else in the local media -- and found her to be so utterly, impossibly sincere that, if Cal were ever to meet her, the Iron Man would melt. I mean, this is an episode out of "Laverne and Shirley." Cathy is sweet -- literally. She's 29, lives in Dundalk, and has a job testing sugar at Domino's; she's also a powder miller in the confectionery department. Doesn't make a whole lot of dough, can't afford a ticket to Cal Night. Why the poem, the public appeal? "Well, Number one, I'm a big baseball fan," she says. "Number two, it's history. And Number three . . . " Here Cathy sighs (swoons might be a better word.) "I just love Cal. I mean, he's just so polite and humble and sweet." There's that word again.
I hear WJHU-FM has been getting lots of calls asking one question: "Where's Lisa?" We haven't heard from Ms. Simeone -- for years the station's most popular on-air personality -- since the station dropped classical music for talk and public affairs. But for those who've suffered Simeone withdrawal, I've got news. She's produced a humorous report on boccie -- there's that word again -- in Little Italy, and it was scheduled to air today on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition." Then, this Sunday morning, Simeone's new talk show premiers. Her first guest is novelist Carl Hiassen, whose latest book, "Stormy Weather," is described as a "hilarious romp through the South Florida world of tasteless tourists, escaped convicts and greedy developers." The show also features the return of media critic Mark Crispin Miller.
Looks like we're in for a rash of naughty merchandising in connection with Pope John Paul II's visit to Baltimore in October. Last week, we saw the mildly irreverent (but mostly cute) Miracle Mug. This week it's the Papal Crab Feast T-shirt. In this T, the pope is imploring legions of Chesapeake Bay blue crabs to "be fruitful and multiply." (The crabs in the illustration are red and alive, which is silly; the only red crabs I ever saw were dead.) The pope smiles broadly and holds crab mallets and a can of Old Bay aloft. The shirts are already being sold around town.
Contact This Just In at The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or call 332-6166.