Yevoli honored by Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

SUNY Cobleskill’s Anthony Yevoli, left, controls the ball during a men’s lacrosse game against Lyndon State College at Frank Bailey Field on the campus on Union College in Schenectady on Feb. 26. Yevoli, an Amsterdam High School graduate, recently was named the “2017 Boy of the Year” by the Upstate New York/Vermont Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. (Photo submitted)

ALBANY — SUNY Cobleskill sophomore lacrosse player Anthony Yevoli, an Amsterdam High School graduate, was named the “2017 Boy of the Year” by the Upstate New York/Vermont Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Yevoli was honored by the society at its annual Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraiser March 3 at the Albany Renaissance Hotel for his return to the playing field after a year-long battle with the disease, according to a new release.

For many, college is one of the best and hardest experiences of one’s life. Between tests, homework, social life, etc.; it can be a lot to handle at a young age. This can be made even more difficult when a life threatening disease like leukemia is added to the equation. But Yevoli dealt with this extremely rough patch in his life with a positive attitude and a lacrosse stick in hand.

Now age 20, he was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 19. Leukemia is a malignant progressive disease in which the bone marrow and other blood-forming organs produce increased numbers of immature or abnormal leukocytes. These suppress the production of normal blood cells, leading to anemia and other symptoms. It can be a life-changing disease that has already taken the lives of 560,000 people.

Knowing this, he was determined he was not going to be just another statistic. After battling months of chemotherapy, losing his hair and being confined to a hospital for nearly to six months, he came out of Albany Medical Center, cancer-free. Throughout his treatment, the Amsterdam native was given unconditional support from those around him. His parents, grandparents, coaches, teammates and the school’s athletic trainer became his support group.

Like most parents, his family was devastated by the diagnosis, but they quickly learned that they must deal with the situation day by day.

“It was hard to take the news, but the way we all rolled back we all came back from it… We were able to beat it and not really fret over it too long,” said Yevoli, who credits his parents for his successful return to health. “I felt like I had a lot of strength in my family, like my mom and dad and my grandparents.”

During his last round of treatment that he discovered he was going to be honored with the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) inspirational award.

According to NEAC, the award is given to “an individual or individuals who have endured personal hardships that have led to bravery and/or dedication within athletics through participation, volunteerism, coaching, and/or administrating.”

The inspirational award was not the only award he was honored with. He also received two other awards for his courage, the release said. He was also presented with the chance to be a spokesman for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The LLS is the largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding research, finding cures and ensuring access to treatments for blood cancer patients. It helps people of all different ages, primarily, throughout the Northeast, the release said.

The sophomore attackman was asked several times throughout the course of his treatment if he would like to represent the LLS. After considering the idea, he decided to accept the position.

“It was my last round of treatment and they suggested it to me again,” he said in the release. “They had brought it up in conversations, but I never thought much of it until I was in remission for a month.”

Once he was out of the hospital, the Amsterdam native was ready to become an active part of the LLS.

Yevoli credits two women who work for the organization for suggesting he become part of it — Angie Silipigno and Susanne Keller.

Many times throughout the year the LLS will host fundraisers and events that will assist in getting support for cancer survivors and people battling the disease.

As a part of these fundraising efforts, Yevoli attends these events and gives motivational speeches and tells the audience his story.

“I’m mostly speaking at events and sponsoring candidates for man of the year and woman of the year. … Our faces will be all over the campaign.”

Yevoli is studying business administration and is working on finishing up his associate‘s degree. After this year, he is considering pursuing his bachelor’s degree.

But what lies ahead for Yevoli after his bachelor’s degree?

Like most college students, he does not really know what the future holds. Regardless of whatever his future career path entails, he knows for a fact that he would still be affiliated with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the release said. Either working as a spokesman or in some other capacity could potentially be a full-time position. He would like this because it would allow him to give back to the Society that has helped him through so many very difficult times, he said in the release.

As he looks back on his own experience, Yevoli wants to leave people who are currently struggling with a little bit of advice.

“There are plenty of support systems out there, plenty of people who know what you are going through,” he said in the release. “Just stay strong and you’ll get through it.”

In his first game of the season on Feb. 26 against Lyndon State College, Yevoli scored a pair of goals, caused two turnovers and picked up two ground balls in the Fighting Tigers’ 11-4 victory.

By Paul Wager

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