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Florida Lacrosse Scrimmage Gives Dying Dad His Final Wish

David Mittleman

I couldn’t help but be touched by this story. Initially, I was drawn to the lacrosse headline, as my son Max played the game beautifully at East Lansing High School. However, what happened down in Florida for Carl Defoe will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

Carl Defoe is dying from cancer. The cancer has spread from his only remaining lung to his brain stem and spinal cord. He has weeks to live. And while he’s determined to keep on fighting, one reality was too painful to recognize. His daughter Heather Defoe had just joined her high school’s junior varsity lacrosse team, and Carl would never get to see her play a game for her high school.

Apparently, her school’s administration caught word of his dying wish and they sprung into action. They approached the Florida High School Activities Association for permission to hold a scrimmage between the JV and Varsity Lacrosse teams of Winter Springs High School months before the season started. The Association said yes, one one condition: they wanted a photograph of the game.

So on Wednesday, September 22, 2010, during the halftime of a Junior Varsity football game, all in attendance got to watch one amazing scrimmage. Heather suited up for the Varsity team instead of the JV squad she’ll be playing with, and she managed to net three goals. After the game, both teams gathered around Carl and the photograph was taken. When asked how he felt about the experience, Carl simply stated: “I feel lucky.”


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