Lester unveils children's cancer initiative

Lester unveils children's cancer initiative

BOSTON -- Jon Lester knows what it's like to battle cancer. He also knows what it's like to be a father.

That's why the Red Sox pitcher is setting up a charity to raise awareness and money for children's cancer research.

Lester and Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Board member Rob Quish unveiled NVRQT on Thursday, a charity that hopes to fight against pediatric cancer. NVRQT stands for "Never Quit." You can join the cause by visiting facebook.com/NVRQT.

"Any way that we can help raise money so kids can get treatment as painless as possible and as easy as possible, the better," Lester said. "I just can't stress enough how excited we are to be a part of this."

Lester was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer, in 2006 at age 22. Lester overcame the cancer, his recovery culminating in his no-hitter on May 20, 2008.

"The icon of the idea of 'Never Quit' is the miraculous recovery and the no-hitter," Quish said. "[Lester] is the prefect person to be a reflection of what we are trying to do."

Lester said he wanted to get involved in the fight against pediatric cancer after becoming a father.

"When you're going through what I went through in 2006, you don't understand what your parents go through," Lester said. "It was really hard on them. Once your son comes into the world and you imagine him going through what I went through, it's heartbreaking."

Fenway Park will host a "Never Quit" day in the middle of July. There will be an event at the House of Blues on Sept. 24 to culminate the season-long program.

"It's something that we're excited about, it's been a long time coming," Lester said. "This will be something for us to enjoy and have some fun doing it. I'm ready to get it going."

As for Lester, he says he tries not to think about his a battle with cancer.

"After my last scan last year, it was pretty much out of my head," Lester said. "The date for me is right around Thanksgiving. We always do a toast to another year. The further and further you get away from it the easier it is to forget about it."

Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.