I hope you'll oblige me today as I move away from the topic of Auburn football. I received an email earlier this week from my friend, Lyn Scarbrough, the excellent marketing director at Lindy's Sports Annuals. The news was not good.
Lyn was passing on information about former Auburn baseball star Brent Schoening and his battle with Leukemia. Many of you will remember the former pitcher that starred on the Plains in the late 1990's and was a big part of Auburn's 1997 College World Series team.
Schoening's remembered as one of the most dominate pitchers in SEC and Auburn history. During his final season at Auburn, he posted a 13-1 record with an ERA of 3.33. In three years on campus, Schoening compiled a 29-9 overall record. Needless to say, we haven't seen many like him since.
Taken in the fifth round of the 1999 draft by the Minnesota Twins, he'd worked his way up to Triple A Rochester, playing seven seasons in the Twins organization. Suffering a shoulder injury, Schoening was working hard to rehabilitate himself and get back on the field when he was diagnosed with Leukemia last August.
Following his diagnosis, he immediately sought treatment at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas, and has been there ever since. In something of a blessing, Houston happens to be the home of Schoening's parents and has served as a refuge for him and his wife, Lauren.
Being from nearby Columbus, Georgia, I've followed Schoening closely over the years, dating back to his days as a player for legendary high school coach Bobby Howard at Columbus High School. His Blue Devils claimed three state championships during his time on the mound. Coincidentally, it's the same school that produced former Auburn slugger and Major League All-Star Frank Thomas.
Speaking to Brent's friend, Jonathan Smart yesterday revealed more bad news. In recent weeks things have taken a turn for the worse for Schoening. He's had two surgeries already this summer to help fight infection and he received more bad news Wednesday after a bone marrow test revealed the Leukemia had gotten worse. A stem cell procedure scheduled for next week has now been put on hold.
Schoening's condition is dire today. He remains hospitalized and has now been taken off all medications with the exception of pain killers. Simply put, the young man needs a miracle. I hope all of you will quickly add Schoening to your prayer list and ask for God's help.
As you can imagine, treatment has not been cheap and insurance only pays a small portion of the bills. Friends are organizing a golf tournament to help raise money for the Schoening family. We'll have more details as they become available. If you'd like to help out financially, a special fund has been set-up where you can contribute. You can send your donations to: Birdies 4 Brent, 3906 Buena Vista Road, Columbus, GA 31907.
I know all of you join me in sending out our very best to Brent and his family.