Conor McKenna passed away in March of 2011 at the age of 15 after a 19 month battle with a rare form of cancer (angiosarcoma) which is a cancer of the blood vessels. He was a player in Upper Providence LL since 2004 and was a four year member of the UPLL allstar teams. He continued his play after UPLL in the Spring City Legion and the Spring-ford Baseball programs until a few months before he passed away.
He was diagnosed with cancer in August 2009 after two months of pain in his right arm and rib during a season of summer baseball. It was determined that he had a tumor in his arm, rib and in his heart which required immediate open heart surgery at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. He later had months of chemotherapy and another major surgery in November 2009 to replace his right humerus with titanium insert and remove the tumors in his arm and rib. Upon removal of the tumors it was determined that 99% of the cancer cells from those tumors were killed by the chemotherapy and he was on the path to recovery. He completed his chemo treatments in February 2010. His next scan in March 2010 pronounced him clear of cancer except for a few very small tumors in his knee and hip. In April 2010 he started on another form of chemo that he tolerated very well and he re-joined his school and legion baseball teams for workouts and went to every game and practice to be with his teams. These chemo treatments continued for almost every week from April until December 2010. The care and support that he received at CHOP was second to none.
Through all of this treatment he continued to attend school from September 2009 through all of 2010. His only goals were to get healthy, stay in school and get back to his friends and teammates on his various baseball teams. His PASSION was baseball and returning to play baseball was the mainstay to his recovery. It drove him to endure and PERSEVERE through all of the surgeries and chemo treatments. He was cheered on and supported through all of this by his two brothers (Evan and Quinn – both UPLL players) and his sister Mary Pat and all his family and friends including the UPLL and Spring-ford communities. The COURAGE that he showed over these 19 months was an incredible for a teenager with no previous experience with any health issues. He never once complained about treatments or what he needed to do to fight this disease he just focused on his goals and led the normal life of a teenager. The support he received from his friends and the community was outstanding and helped him in his fight against this disease. We were all very proud of him and they way that he fought his own battle against this disease.
In January 2011 he received a regular three month scan and his cancer had spread to his liver and lungs and his tumors in his hip and knees began to get larger so much so that he couldn’t attend school and he started radiation treatments to continue to battle. In early March 2011 he got a major infection from a complication with these treatments and passed away on March 5, 2011.
This tournament is dedicated to his memory and to the love that he showed for baseball. The McKenna family and some of Conor’s friends started the Conor McKenna Foundation to continue his legacy of love for the game of baseball. This foundation will fund a courage award and scholarship funds to be given away annually beginning with Conor’s class of 2013 at Spring-ford High School to a student that exhibits great courage in their lives. The foundation will also fund baseball equipment for local little leagues in the Philadelphia area that particularly serve underprivileged youth. Several events will be held over the next year in order to fund this foundation.
The McKenna family thanks the UPLL community for all their support over the past two years and their continued support. We appreciate UPLL for naming this tournament after Conor’s memory and his love for the game of baseball.
To all the players that are participating in this tournament the McKenna family, UPLL, Conor and his friends and teammates extend the following wish:
ENJOY THE GAME OF BASEBALL AND STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE SPORT. BE A GOOD TEAMMATE AND ALWAYS SHOW PASSION FOR THE GAME. BASEBALL IS A GAME OF MANY FAILURES SO PERSEVERE WHEN THINGS DO NOT GO YOUR WAY. MOST OF ALL HAVE THE COURAGE TO TAKE CHANCES AND PLAY AS HARD AS YOU CAN ON THE FIELD OF PLAY.
Good luck to all of the teams participating in the tournament.
The McKenna Family and Upper Providence Little League
When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."