By Logan Grossman SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Lenn Brown is a Syracuse University senior, majoring in accounting in the Whitman School of Management. The son of two Syracuse University alum, he has bled Orange since the day he was born.
“Growing up in a Syracuse family, it was always a dream to come here,” Brown said. “But when I was diagnosed, I didn’t think it would ever happen.”
At the age of 12, Brown was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, and was told that time was of the essence if he wanted to survive.
“My parents were crying and asking if they were bad parents,” Brown said. “My dad asked the doctor if they should take me to New York City to see doctors there. The doctor looked at him in the eye and said, ‘Mr. Brown, you can
do whatever you want but I am the guy you want operating on your son.'”
Brown underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Then, nine rounds of chemotherapy. Then, 30 radiation treatments.
“The doctor told me they gave me nine rounds, because ten would’ve killed me.”
Through it all, Syracuse remained a safe haven. While he was undergoing chemotherapy, Brown was able to make a trip up to the Carrier Dome to see his beloved Orange take on the Villanova Wildcats. Brown was able to meet several players and Syracuse legends, including head coach Jim Boeheim and assistant coach Gerry McNamarra. Ten years later, this memory still brings a smile to his face.
About a year after his diagnosis, Brown was given a clean bill of health and a second lease on life.
“It was weird,” Brown remembered. “I returned to school and everyone was talking about kid stuff. Making pee and poop jokes. Meanwhile, I felt like I knew more about life than they ever would. I almost died.”
Brown was admitted to Syracuse University and when he came to campus, another surprise was awaiting him. He was named a manager of the Syracuse University men’s basketball team. For the next four years he would attend all of the team’s games, workouts and practices befriend the players and the legendary coaches that he worshiped growing up and grow ever closer to the school and the community that proved to be an escape from a hell that no child should ever have to experience.