Dan Healy '82 - Certified Bad-ass
‘Uncle Dan,’ who is fighting leukemia, will be honored Saturday at J-D
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Published: Oct. 10, 2019, 11:42 a.m.
By Nolan Weidner | firstname.lastname@example.org
Syracuse, N.Y. -- It’s been a pretty good week for Dan Healy.
The East Syracuse resident got big news on Wednesday when he found out his bone marrow was clean, one month after a stem cell transplant to fight the Acute Myeloid Leukemia that he was diagnosed with in early July.
“That was tremendous news,” said Healy, an instrumentation mechanic for Onondaga County who once wore No. 64 on the football field for the Jamesville-DeWitt Red Rams.
Healy faces another uplifting moment on Saturday, one he expects will be gratifying, yet also daunting for a guy who doesn’t particularly like the spotlight.
During halftime of J-D’s home football game against Fulton, Healy will be honored and supported by his former team, family and friends.
The Red Rams will don helmet stickers with his name and number, and Healy's nephew, junior Scott Reeves, will trade in his usual jersey and wear his uncle Dan's No. 64. "I was a little taken aback," said Healy, who learned of the plans this week from his sister and stem cell donor, Aimee Healy-Reeves.
The halftime ceremony is a way for the family to recognize Dan’s battle and also raise community awareness for bethematch.org, a bone marrow registry that helps fight blood cancers.
"We all have been struggling, but we're getting through it," said Scott Reeves, who normally wears No. 56. "I've seen a few photos (of Dan). I thought I should wear his number."
Healy was a senior lineman on J-D’s 1981 sectional Class B championship team, one that went 8-2 and finished No. 24 in the final state large-school football rankings. The star of the team was future Syracuse University and Miami Dolphins standout receiver Scott Schwedes.
After high school, Healy became an electrician and worked at Carrier for a number of years before taking his present job with the county.
While the July diagnosis was a tough experience for Dan, 56, one of nine children of William and Lorraine Healy, he said the response from his friends and family has been overwhelming.
All of Healy’s siblings took blood tests to see if they were a match for a bone marrow or stem cell donation. In a rare occurrence, two of the siblings were a match, and doctors chose Aimee because she was the youngest.
Dan Healy spent 76 days in treatment, having chemotherapy and the stem cell infusion at Rochester’s Wilmot Cancer Center.
"There couldn't have been a better place for me. It's really a special place," he said.