Blogs and Commentary

posted 04.19.2011 at 3.14 p.m. by Corey McLaughlin

Tragedy Strikes for Young Family

Maria Young, the mother of Maryland senior attackman Ryan Young and his twin brother, Duke senior midfielder Kevin Young, passed away late Sunday night after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, the Maryland men's lacrosse team said Monday.

Maria Young was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2008, and during this lacrosse season her story had become more public, as she agreed to share it in hopes of raising awareness for pancreatic cancer.

Ryan Young has had the word "MOM" etched on a piece of paper tape onto his helmet. Maryland players have worn purple ribbons on their helmets to raise awareness for the Lustgarten Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting the treatment and prevention of pancreatic cancer.

In an email exchange with a Maryland spokesperson earlier this year, Maria wrote: "In my "fight," I have become very impressed with the Lustgarten Foundation, an organization that does research on pancreatic cancer. It is my hope that people will support this organization in its efforts to find a cure for this disease."

The Diamondback, Maryland's student newspaper, published a piece April 6 written by Jakob Engelke that detailed Ryan Young's relationship with his mother, family, and the Maryland lacrosse team through his mother's battle with cancer.

Maria traveled from Long Island to Durham, N.C., to watch her sons play each other in the regular season for the final time when Maryland played Duke March 5. She returned to Long Island afterward and was hospitalized soon after. Ryan Young returned home that week to be with his mom, and rejoined the Terrapins to play a game that Saturday.

On Monday, before learning the news, I wrote a story for Tuesday's that said Maryland, despite losing Saturday night to Johns Hopkins, had the look of a national title contender. Now the season takes on a different meaning.

The Terps have dedicated the rest of this season to Maria Young and Maryland players will wear purple "MY" stickers on their helmets, according to a Maryland spokesperson.

It's unclear if the Young twins will play Friday when Maryland faces North Carolina, and Duke plays Virginia, in the ACC tournament in Durham, N.C. Michael Young, Ryan and Kevin's older brother, played for Duke from 2005-08.