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'No cancer,' many thanks

Ernie Wilson of Modesto wrote to thank many people for their prayers.

"I was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor," he said. "My wife, Sue, works in a busy hair salon. She told a few of her clients, who told a few of their friends, who told their friends, and within a week, I was on many churches' prayer lists in Modesto and across the country.

"I kept running into people who said, 'We're praying for you. You're on our prayer list.' I got to thinking, that's amazing, in a town like this, that it can spread so quickly."

A biopsy showed the tumor was benign. Erne begins radiation treatments this month.

"Modesto may be getting big, but it still has the heart of a small town," Ernie said. "I had the biopsy; no cancer. Thank you to all those people and all those prayers."

A few weeks ago, a Modesto woman named Dawn Boss called me. She and her husband had returned home from a Saturday night out and found a football uniform on the street near their driveway.

The jersey, which would have given the name of the school and/or team was missing. The only clues were a helmet in royal blue and gold with a "Trojan-like soldier on the side," and a name, Adams, on a strap.

"I knew someone was in big trouble. The principal at Beyer told me the helmet alone starts at $110," Dawn said. She'd checked with Beyer and Downey and driven past Davis to see if there might be a match, or if coaches would recognize it from another school. No luck. She drove past the place where recreational teams play and called the city's rec department. Still nothing.

She talked with the police, who said she could turn it in, but it would sit there unless someone claimed it. She wasn't content to leave it there.

"I've been a parent with boys in football," she said. "I know that every day that ticks by with the uniform gone is so stressful."

So we were going to put a small article in The Bee's sports section to try to find the owner. Before it ran, Bee prep sportswriter Will DeBoard read it and thought he recognized the team.

"I thought it might be Ripon Christian -- they're the Knights and are the right colors," he said. "I trade e-mails with the RC coach's wife at times, so I sent her the note. Told her it was a shot in the dark, but asked if it might be theirs."

Turns out his dark shot was right on the money. The coach's wife called the Adams family. A varsity player had his uniform bag stolen from the back of a pickup truck in Modesto.

"Wow," said the mom to Will. "I never knew your job included doing lost-and-found notices. Appreciate your help."

Do you have a story about someone who has helped others or is a terrific role model? Send a brief item to Sue Nowicki at P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352 or e-mail