By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
TUCSON, Ariz. ó Cancer can devastate a family as University of Arizona RHP James Farris knows all too well.
In a little over a year, he had to deal with three members of his family being diagnosed with this deadly disease. During his freshman season with the Wildcats, his grandmother Nonnie suffered greatly as cancer invaded her body and caused both of her legs to be amputated before she passed away.
In December of his freshman year, his sister Jordan suffered when a huge, cancerous tumor was discovered in her chest as she underwent chemotherapy.
Jordan coped with the side effects of chemotherapy as she lost her hair, vomited and was fatigued after the lengthy procedures as poison was essentially pumped into her body to kill the cancer cells.
And if that wasnít enough, Jamesí dad (Jim) was hit with this sinister disease a year later. Imagine being away from home at college while this is all unfolding in your life during your freshman and sophomore seasons. Not an hour went by that James didnít think of family members suffering.
Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for an average of 7.6 million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. Deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue rising with an estimated 13.1 million projected to take place each year by 2030.
According to the Centers For Disease Control, cancer claims the lives of more than half a million Americans every year. One in every four deaths in the United States is due to cancer.
Despite dealing with cancer at every turn, he had a superb season last year and pitched one of the greatest games of his life during the 2012 national title game against South Carolina.
Because he was the third starter, he had not pitched in 22 days before his start against the Gamecocks since Arizonaís No. 1 and 2 pitchers won two straight at the Super Regional against St. Johnís. These same two pitchers each threw two games in Arizonaís first four games of the CWS.
Farris was more than ready for his chance in the title game. He threw a masterpiece with only two South Carolina hits being allowed in 7 2/3 innings as he struck out four. The Gamecocks didnít even get a runner past first base through the first six innings.
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