SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

October 20, 2012

Annual Mike's Wish Foundation Benefit to be held Nov. 2 in Peabody

The 12th annual Mike’s Wish Foundation Benefit will take place Friday, Nov. 2, at the AOH Hall on Lowell Street in Peabody. The event takes place every year to help find a cure for juvenile Huntington’s disease, a genetic and terminal illness that took the life of Peabody resident Mike Visone in April 2008.

Visone battled the disease with courage and determination. He would have been 28 years old if he had lived, and this benefit is carried on by his mother Gayle Eason, who is keeping her son’s memory alive.

Doors open at 7 p.m., and there will be a live band, food, raffles, and auctions. Tickets are $25 and will be available at the door.

Visone was an avid sports fan who played youth baseball before the disease set in. But above all else he loved hockey and collected sports jerseys of various teams and players. He went to Bruins games whenever he could, and during his playing days in Boston several years ago Sergei Samsonov befriended the young man.

Peabody Youth Hockey retired an honorary hockey jersey with Mike’s name; it’s now framed and hanging at the city’s McVann-O’Keefe Rink.

Visone also took karate seriously and earned a black belt.

Visone’s father had Huntington’s disease, and at around age 7 his mother began noticing worrisome symptoms in her son — even though the diagnosis was not made until a few years later.

“We want to spread awareness,” said Eason. “People think of Huntington’s as an old person’s disease, but Mike was only 23 when he died.

“We’re a small group, but we do what we can. We also assist families with terminally ill children, not necessarily suffering from just Huntington’s. My Mike would want to help them, and our promise to him was to always do this.

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