When Bishop McGuinness baseball player Andrew Murphy was 7 years old, all his father, Tom, asked for was for 10 more years. He wanted to see Andrew graduate from McGuinness and get the chance to watch all his baseball games.
With Thursday’s senior night festivities in the books, all that’s left is two more weeks for Tom’s wish to come true. Andrew’s dream already has come true as his father has still attended all his baseball games. Tom was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma skin cancer in 1998 and was given less than a 20 percent chance of surviving. Doctors discovered a brain tumor not too long after that. Tom and Anne, his wife and Andrew’s mother, spent the next three years flying back and forth from Oklahoma City to Santa Monica, Calif., to receive treatment. He kept fighting. "We couldn’t have done it without the support of the McGuinness family. They’ve helped us out so much,” Anne said. "Everybody has been so willing to help out — it’s been more than we could imagine.” But melanoma never stops coming, and tumors were also found in Tom’s stomach and lungs. He kept fighting. Through it all, he tried to play as big a role as he could in Andrew’s life. He would help coach Andrew’s teams and would attend as many games as possible, no matter what the sport. "It’s been tough, but there have been some times when his personality has come through and there have been some good moments — some real great moments,” Andrew said. "It’s definitely helped build my character and made me grow up faster.” Tom took another turn for the worse when a second brain tumor was found in 2005. He kept fighting. Because of all the treatments, Tom began to suffer from radiation-induced dementia, with symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease, as Andrew entered high school. Tom was able to be there when the Irish won the Class 4A state baseball championship two years ago and has been the one constant for Andrew. "He’s become a lot stronger as a person because of everything,” teammate and long-time friend Pat Wood said.