State Fair Community College Dean of Student and Academic Services Dr. Joe Gilgour has some things in his life he is very passionate about.
Two of them, his love of family and baseball — especially the Kansas City Royals — came together Wednesday in what can best be described as a bittersweet night when Gilgour and his sister, Stacie Yearton, attended their first World Series game.
“I’ve always wanted to go to a World Series game,” Gilgour said. “And to think it was a Royals World Series game made it all the better, I just wish the circumstances of how I got there were different.
“My sister Stacie was diagnosed with brain cancer on Oct. 1, 2014,” he said. “An anonymous donor gave her two tickets to Wednesday’s game and she asked if I wanted to go with her.”
Gilgour said Yearton’s husband was not a sports fan so it seemed natural for her to ask her brother to go.
“Our dad got to go to the seventh game of the ’85 series and we grew up listening to him talk about it,” Gilgour said. “A few days ago my wife and family were driving home from a soccer game when I got a phone call.
“I didn’t want to answer the call since I was driving, so my sister left a message on my wife’s phone,” he added. “The message was from Stacie and it said, ‘I have news,’ so I immediately feared the worst.”
The reason for Gilgour’s fears was well founded — Yearton’s form of brain cancer, glialsarcoma, is very rare and the lifespan for a patient is limited.
“At first, Stacie complained of having some headaches and so her family doctor sent her to MU for more tests,” Gilgour said. “She found out on my birthday (Oct. 1) what her diagnosis was.”
One week later, she had surgery to remove the tumor. The first surgery seemed to go well and Yearton started chemotherapy.
“Six months later the doctors told her they had found more cancer and that it was growing,” Gilgour said. “They stepped up the chemo but she has lost her motor functions and her left side is numb; she also doesn’t have any peripheral vision on her left side.”
Yearton lives with her husband and their five children in Jefferson City.
Thursday was her 39th birthday.
“My sister and the entire family firmly believe that it is her strong belief and faith in the Lord that has gotten her and them through to this stage,” Gilgour said. “It has been hard because we are only three years apart and we were close growing up together.”
Gilgour added that his sister said she asked him to go because she wanted to thank him for all he has done for her.
“I really don’t feel I have done anything though,” Gilgour added. “This is only the third baseball game she has ever gone to and she wanted to make sure I had the chance to go and that I was having a good time.”
The donated tickets were in the upper deck, but because of Yearton’s condition, the Royals moved their location to a lower section.
“All the disabled seats were filled and it’s my understanding that they added extra seating to accommodate the need at the Series,” Gilgour said. “It was nice of the Royals to do this for us.
“We actually left after the seventh inning because I wanted to get her out and on the way home before everyone else left.”
Gilgour said he thinks his sister knows who donated the tickets, but the individual wishes to remain anonymous.
“I really would like to thank the person who did this for Stacie,” Gilgour added. “So many people have donated money and time to them and I will always be grateful for their kindness.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484