Sunday, November 1, 2015


I met Lisa and Shane Varga on social networks.  I'll admit it.  How did we get to know each other? Well… it started with the Yankees, but developed into a strong friendship that we all share today.

That’s because even though we’re all Yankee fans… I’m sucker for people that have the drive to make themselves great.  I’m not talking about bragging and arrogance. I’m talking about fighting for your life and fighting for your keep. The Vargas have that gene. I like it.

A few years ago when I spoke to Lisa and Shane, I learned that Shane was in the fight of his life and Lisa, who’s an actress, put everything on hold to be home with her family while Shane fought to beat cancer.  Getting to know Shane, I was blown away by his story and this is a guy that was never a quitter before, and so, when he told me that he still needed to be in remission for a few more years to be “in the clear” from the big “C",  I felt the need to tell his story on BYB.  It had nothing to do with the New York Yankees, although, that was the bond that brought us together.

Here’s a portion of what Shane went through. The entire interview is titled, THE FIGHTER, and you need to check it out:


"Shane Varga: I had 6 rounds of Chemo. Each round consisted of 2 treatments.  It took me about 3 weeks before I started getting sick.  There was vomiting and nausea as you can imagine.  After I finished Chemo, I then had 22 consecutive days of Radiation therapy. The treatment is far worse than the disease.  The support of my family and friends was so great. It's so important to me.  The main thing was to fight to stay alive. Even after the radiation, the cancer returned.

Lisa Varga: Shane’s only hope for survival was a Stem Cell transplant. They gave him a 50/50 chance to live.  There were tears of joy, tears of pain, laughter and love throughout the journey, but we all stuck together.
BYB: What's the latest on your recovery?
Shane Varga: In July, it will be 3 full years since my stem cell transplant.  My appointments are always brutal because you have a scan and then an appointment to get the results 3 days later.  It is the longest 3 days as you can imagine.  I find out 2 things in my appointments; Either I am still in remission or how much time I have left.  That is a tough feeling, especially now with a son in my life. Ultimately, it comes down to this.....God gave me great strength to endure a whole lot.   I honestly have faith that no matter what I am told or what goes on in my body, I won't die.  Again, why? Because someone would have to tell me that Cancer was going to take my life and I would just simply have to look them straight in the eyes and say "I disagree". Science is only science, it doesn't take into account the human spirit and God's will."

Since then I’m happy to report that Shane is clear and enjoying life without cancer.  Lisa resumed her work as an actress, sports interviewer on Beyond the Offseason and continues to do modelling gigs as well as find time to pose for us in our killer Bleeding Yankee Blue tanks.

Why?  Because good people always find each other.  I wrote about Charles and Joey Moses a few days ago, read BONDING OVER A PINT, I will speak of other people as well… the Hensley family whom I’m crazy about… @CANiPETTITTE… she’s an incredible person doing great things in her life. Obviously the Posadas, Laura has more drive than anyone I know... and the list goes on and on.

The point is, BYB will do something unique…. Something that the other blogs out there don’t do… we’re going to highlight the folks that we’ve met over the years through the Bleeding Yankee Blue connection and highlight them.  I don’t have to do this, after all, there is plenty of other Yankee news I can bring you on the daily.  But I am though, and I’ll tell you why. #BYB is not only about the Yankees… we’re about family, and love and doing the right thing.  We’re about confidence, courage and the desire to be great.  Every single BYB staff member follows those values and trust me when I tell you, it took a long while to find the right folks to write for us. Don’t get me wrong, writers come and go and some are great, but the crew I have right now will get your back in a gun fight… that’s because even though we don’t see each other, we communicate regularly, we care about each other and we have each others back. If I told you this would happen, you would have laughed at me… but it has.

(In photo: Amy, Shane & Lisa Varga)
I’m proud of what we've accomplished here at BYB and for my friendship with Shane and Lisa Varga. I have no problem highlighting great folks who do great things in their lives and are our friends.  We love them. We appreciate them and we have a bond…I appreciate that very much.

The other blogs out there will not do this.  We will, because we’re human… not robots.

Look for more in our "Bonding over" series and make sure you check out BONDING OVER A PINT , the first in this series. It’s gonna be a fun off-season as we highlight great people and friends of BYB.

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