SI Vault
Edited by Jack McCallum and Kostya Kennedy
November 13, 1995
Hanging Tough
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November 13, 1995


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Hanging Tough

In a case far less publicized than Mario Lemieux's battle with Hodgkin's disease, Milos Holan (right), a 24-year-old Anaheim Mighty Duck defenseman, has been playing this season with chronic granulocytic leukemia (CGL), a malignant and potentially fatal disorder of the bone marrow. It was diagnosed during a physical in September, and Holan made the news public on Oct. 22, with team doctors and his quietly weeping wife, Irena, by his side. "I'm going to beat this," he said.

CGL can take years to debilitate its victim, and Holan's case was diagnosed so early that he has neither the enlarged liver nor the enlarged spleen symptomatic of the disease. Nonetheless, Holan's recovery is likely only if a donor whose marrow is compatible with his can be found. Holan's sister was tested and is not a match, and a search is ongoing at the City of Hope Medical Center in L.A., which has a list of 1.8 million registered donors nationwide.

Holan, a second-year player with a hard shot, has not let the as-yet-fruitless search depress him. When Anaheim coach Ron Wilson suggested he might be Holan's marrow match, Holan responded, "I'd prefer Ray Bourque."

Meanwhile, at Children's Hospital near L.A., 17-year-old Michelle Carew, daughter of baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew, has been hospitalized since Sept. 11 with acute nonlymphatic leukemia. Her need for marrow is even more pressing than Holan's, but no match has been found for her either. "We need a stranger's help," says Carew, the California Angel hitting coach.

Seemingly in good health, Michelle was up late on Sept. 10 writing a paper for a freshman class at Cypress College when she complained of headaches and shooting pains down her spine. "I carried her to bed," said Carew. "I thought it was her sinuses." Within two days Michelle's disease was diagnosed. Chemotherapy began immediately. Like Holan, she has kept a stoic and stubborn optimism since learning of her condition.

"Do I have a chance?" Michelle asked when informed of her illness.

"Yes," the oncologist replied.

"That's all I can ask for," she said.

Peace Priorities
On the day Israel's peace-seeking prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, it was sadly ironic that peace talks in Dayton regarding the Bosnian conflict were postponed so that Bosnian leaders Mohamed Sacirbey and Alija Izetbegovic could attend the Tulane- Louisville football game.

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