Thursday, August 04, 2005

August 3, 2005

Teenager Has Great Support in Taking On Toughest Challenge

Lisa Coffey

Some T-shirts stood out over the weekend at the USA Team Tennis event. More than 50 players from the Space Coast/Brevard County area were wearing T-shirts that read, "Brian's Team, 2005 Space Coast" which featured a drawing that looked like a tennis player designed in water color.

Brian Kuell is a 17-year-old tennis player from Melbourne Beach who has played in the USA Team Tennis event several times, winning the state title a few years ago with the Kiwi Gators.

Friday he received a bone marrow transplant at Fairview University Medical Center in Minnesota.

More than two years ago he was practicing his strokes with blue lips. It was later found that he has Fanconi Anemia, which means his has low white and red blood cells and a low platelet count. It's a total breakdown of the bone marrow.

Seven teams (Brian's Fighters, Dreamers, Wishes, Gators, Gang, Battlers and Buddies) from the Space Coast area bought the shirts and wore them Friday in support of Brian on the day of his transplant.

It will take him four to six months to recover, but surely the phone calls and e-mails from the Space Coast players over the weekend, especially from friend Jocelyn Lucier, gave him a boost.

Sunday Lucier's team, Brian's Buddies, won their division.

"He's really grateful and appreciates what our group is doing," said Jocelyn. "I think he really needs it. He misses tennis so much. He said next year he's going to be in Lakeland."

We hope to see you too, Brian.

If you would like to e-mail Brian your well wishes, you can write to him at www.caringbridge/visit/ You can follow his progress on his father's journal at on the site.

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