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West Genesee alumni to host benefit for classmate Sunday

West Genesee alumni will host a benefit for fellow classmate John McCarthy from noon to 6 p.m. May 1 at McNamara's Pub, 5600 Newport Road, Camillus. John is fighting a rare form of leukemia called AML. He recently received a bone marrow transplant and is fighting this disease at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla.

John is a graduate of West Genesee High School and Cortland State College where he excelled in lacrosse and life. He played for Coach Messere at WG and was a key defensive player on the 1983 New York State Championship team. While at Cortland State John was a four-year starter; he was named team captain and received All American honors his senior year.

Bob Williams, who graduated from high school with John and roomed with him at Cortland State, said his friend's attitude has been "fantastic" through this difficult time.

"He had some bad reactions to the chemo therapy ... he's just keeping a real positive attitude about it," he said. "He knows he doesn't have a choice but to fight it."

After leaving Cortland, John spent a year as assistant coach at SUNY Potsdam. He then moved on start his professional career working for Oscar Mayer. He later moved on to his current company, Sara Lee, where he is a director of sales for the South East region; he resides in Orlando Florida. John and his wife Anne (also a WG grad) have three children: Jake, Kelly and David.

"Basically he's just scared because he wants to be there for his kids," Williams said. "He doesn't want to let them down. He wants to be there and be able to support them."

John has continued his dedication to the sport of lacrosse by coaching youth programs and helping to grow the sport in the state of Florida. His love and passion for the game is deep rooted and goes back to his childhood growing up in Camillus.

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