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Surprise visit by 2004 Red Sox delights patients

Logan Dunne was at Sunday afternoon’s Red Sox game, but the 19-year-old cancer patient never imagined his visit Monday to the Jimmy Fund Clinic would offer the huge baseball fan a chance to meet to some of his favorite team’s all-time greatest players.

Six members of the 2004 World Series champion Red Sox – pitchers Pedro Martinez, Tim Wakefield, and Keith Foulke, catcher Jason Varitek, outfielder Adam Hyzdu, and coach Brad Mills – made a surprise visit to Dana-Farber on September 24, 2012. The players chatted and posed for photographs with pediatric patients and their families in the Jimmy Fund Clinic, and with adult patients and their loved ones getting treatment in the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care.

"I remember staying up late with my dad and sister watching on TV when they won," said Dunne, admiring a ball he had autographed by the group. "When you see them doing things like this, it really makes you love the team that much more."

The '04 Red Sox, who broke the team’s 86-year World Series drought, had a special connection to Dana-Farber patients. Many children and adults who were treated for cancer that year credited the team’s incredible comeback against the hated Yankees in the playoffs that fall for helping them through. When Wakefield brought the World Series trophy to Dana-Farber that winter, some patients had tears in their eyes as they held it.

During Monday’s visit, players joked with each other and their fans, swapping 2004 memories with the older patients and just talking baseball with the younger ones.

One pediatric patient getting a chemotherapy infusion quickly put together posters welcoming the players, which they autographed for him, while another chatted in Spanish with Martinez as nurses looked on smiling. Patients of all ages got to try on World Series rings.

For Jeff Laaff, an adult patient who is being treated for prostate cancer, the visit brought back a special memory.

"My daughter was treated at Dana-Farber for leukemia when she was a kid, and she got to meet [Red Sox pitching legend] Roger Clemens. He signed a ball for her, and now Pedro signed one for me. Wait till I tell her."

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