Maine coach Shawn Walsh, hospitalized on Sept. 10 because he was having trouble breathing, is “getting stronger” every day, according to a story in the Bangor Daily News.
Neither the Eastern Maine Medical Center nor the Maine Sports Information Department have been authorized to confirm any details, but Walsh’s younger brother, Kevin, told the Daily News that the Black Bear coach has responded well to antibiotics and has shown positive signs in his battle with kidney cancer.
“I’m very encouraged,” said Kevin Walsh. “Shawn is in great spirits.”
Reportedly, Walsh received precautionary assisted breathing while fighting the pneumonia.
“Because he has only one lung — [the other was removed on Mar. 29] — they didn’t want to take any chances,” said Kevin Walsh. “They didn’t want things
to build up [in the one remaining lung].”
Following a stem cell transplant from his younger brother, Shawn Walsh underwent 100 days of chemotherapy to optimize the chances of his body accepting his brother’s stem cells as his own, which would then fight the cancer. With his chemotherapy ending in mid-August, Walsh’s body became more susceptible to rejection of the transplanted stem cells while also remaining at risk of infections such as pneumonia.
Walsh reportedly could return to the National Institute of Health where the transplant took place to receive white blood cells to assist his compromised immune system.
While the hospitalization could be viewed as a setback, a CAT scan of his lower abdomen showed no spread of the cancer.
“I’m more confident than ever that Shawn is going to beat this,” said Kevin
Walsh to Daily News.