SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

October 23, 2012

Chieftains bring hope, happiness to Hodges

BOXFORD — Golf isn’t particularly high on Ben Hodges’ list of concerns currently. But the sport did help bring a smile to his face yesterday afternoon.

Hodges, the Masconomet golf coach, was only a partial contributor to the Chieftains this fall. All of Hodges’ concentration for the past several months has been dedicated to his family — in particular his wife Laurie, who is battling cancer.

Hodges was at Far Corner Golf Course yesterday, though, to watch Masconomet finish second in the Division 2 North sectional tournament. The Chieftains’ 325 put them one shot behind Concord-Carlisle, but allowed them to advance to next week’s state final.

The performance also gave Hodges a chance to simply enjoy a victory with a team that he holds in high esteem.

Laurie Hodges was diagnosed with a type of liver cancer called intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and has been going through treatment since having half of her liver removed in July.

Laurie and Ben Hodges have three children: a 4-year old son, a 3-year old daughter and a 7-month old daughter.

“It’s as good as it can be,” said a choked-up Hodges. “We’re in a place now that’s a good place. With cancer, anything can change on a given day and we’re going to enjoy where we’re at right now.”

Hodges has been encouraged by Laurie’s condition in recent weeks. She has been able to hold their 7-month-old and has started doing some exercising.

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer, however. The Hodges’ focus seems to be making the most of today.

“The road is winding down in terms of the treatment that they can actually do. The follow-up stuff is more scans,” Hodges said. “It’s a type of cancer that is aggressive. It’s a more than 50 percent chance of recurrence, but there are a lot of positives — good margins, no lymph node involvement. There was some vascular invasion and that’s why they’re doing chemo.”

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