Lee Evans has brain tumor; Olympic legend tried masters track

A shocker: Lee Evans has a brain tumor and lacks the money to treat it. So says an incredibly sad account in The Nation by Dave Zirin. If you don’t know who Lee Evans is, lissen up, children. He was the God of the 400 in the late 1960s, the WR man who was first to go sub-44. Dave writes: “The basic conditions of Lee Evans’s room has improved in the last twelve hours. But the fact that his care is even a question constitutes a national disgrace.” The hat is being passed: “An account and donation page are being set up for Lee. … checks can be sent to Rosemary Evans; 46096 Valeria Ave; Dos Palos 93620. If you can give, please do so right away.” By rights, Lee should be the M40 WR man at 47.5. He wrote me in June 2006: “Thank you for your kind words. I’m considering running again. It is painful as I have arthritis in both knees (not from running, but a fall).” Losing such a legend is unthinkable.

Here’s the original account from three days ago:

SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 22 (UPI) — Olympic gold medal sprinter Lee Evans is being treated for a brain tumor in California, a former teammate says.

Evans, who now lives in Nigeria, was visiting a sister in the San Francisco area when the tumor on his pituitary gland was discovered, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

In 1968, Evans, now 63, was one of the “Speed City” runners from San Jose State University. He and his teammates made history with the medals they picked up in Mexico City and with their open political activism. Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who won gold and bronze in the 200 meters, gave Black Power salutes from the podium.

Evans won gold medals in the 400 meters and the 1,600-meter relay in 1968. He and his relay teammates wore black berets like those worn by the Black Panthers during the medal ceremony.

Carlos announced Evans’ illness in an e-mail to other Olympic athletes.

“All of our teammates want to go out and say some prayers,” Carlos said. “There’s not too much we can do but pray.”

Evans, who is married to a Liberian refugee, is trying to raise money for a school outside Monrovia. He moved to Africa to work for the United Nations after leaving his job as a coach at the University of Alabama in 2008.

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December 25, 2011

18 Responses

  1. Jimson Lee - December 26, 2011

    The official page for electronic payments is setup, with Paypal accounts going to Lee Evans’ son Aleator.


  2. Jeff Davison - December 26, 2011

    Lee Evan’s ran Masters Track and Field as well as his great career as an open athlete.

  3. Bubba Sparks - December 26, 2011

    My training partner, Don Curry’s wife just had a similar tumor surgically removed and is doing well. They got 90%+ of it and she is recovcering better than expected.

  4. James Anderson - December 26, 2011

    Why don’t you post the link for donations to his medical fund? Here it is: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=8gQuWqi4a53Xvv3loteyHEurh4wBAl6ktgXJ3LPVXhJisMwpYgF2a3Ikw00&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8db2b24f7b84f1819343fd6c338b1d9d60

    Note it is titled “Save Lee.” Also you’ll see “Help Save Lee Evans” next to the donation box.

  5. Terry Parks - December 26, 2011

    Thank you Jimson for the donation link. You really really are a class act.

  6. Milton Girouard - December 27, 2011

    A portion of Dave Zirin’s article about Lee Evan’s illness in The Nation, “…he has been terribly mistreated during his hospitalization. Rosemary said to me, “I heard his doctor in the hall say he wished [Lee] had been transferred somewhere else because he didn’t have insurance…. Lee is in intense pain. Not even morphine is helping. He hasn’t eaten in several days, yet there was no IV in his arm when I first went into his room. He’s lying in his filth and nothing is happening…” WOW!! Nothing says “America” and “Holiday Spirit” like lying in your own excrement at a hospital, with your Doctor wishing you didn’t exist and had gone to another hospital for lack of a buck. Ya’ think the Hallmark Channel will be doing a Christmas rendition of this story next year? And don’t give me the, “He should have had insurance” routine. A bit too late for that now. Forget his sports status…He’s a human being, in great pain and suffering in supposedly the greatest country in the world and this is how he gets treated? It truly is mind boggling if this information reported is correct…Ken Stone, Can you use some of your media clout and check with a local San Jose TV news station and see if they can run a story on this and check on Lee’s status??

  7. Ken Stone - December 27, 2011

    Good idea, Milt. I’ll see if the local paper will follow up. TV usually takes its cue from paper.

  8. Ken Stone - December 27, 2011

    Actually, the San Jose Mercury News was all over the story originally:


  9. Karl Kauffman - December 27, 2011

    As I noted on the T&FN thread, Evans became eligible to enroll in Medicare Nov 1 of this year(his 65th birthday is Feb 25, 2012). Since he will be able to receive benefits in a few weeks, this could help his financial situation(assuming he’s started the enrollment process)

  10. Terry Parks - December 27, 2011

    When you are down, some people see only the down part. People are not always kind and you have to be a fighter in this world to make it and Mr Evans has been a fighter. Unfortunately, some battles you can’t fight alone and you need a little help from your friends.

  11. al cestero - December 27, 2011

    i will pray for lee’s recovery…it breaks my heart when i read of the treatment that he is getting, however i must comment that his lack of insurance is probably not that much of a factor in his terrible care. today is the fourth anniversary of my dad’s death. my wife and i took care of him after my mom passed 7 years ago. my dad had alzheimers.we had a very difficult time with this task, but did it with a loving heart and to the best of our ability. there were times when my dad messesd himself three times in one day, and each and every time i cleaned him and showered him pronto.i prayed daily for the strength to deal with whatever i was dealt on any given day.after three years we needed to make some changes.we wanted to add a bathroom to our lower level and sell my dads place, and move him in with us. the doctor suggested for my dad to have a stay in a rehab center ( for up to 120 days) which would give us a break and let us continue and finish the changes in our home.but first he had to visit the hospital for 3 days ( just a formality ) then on to the re hab center…brand new..and of our own choosing. we checked my father into a local hospital ( our own choosing )with a great reputation, and my own seal of approval..on november 22 2007 thanksgiving day. my dad was attentive , especially to the attractive nurses, and was in good spirits. while checking him into his room, i called attention to the large dried urine stain on the floor next to the other bed in the room and asked the nurse to get someone to clean it up..she was embarrased and said “of course mr cestero ” the next day we arrived at his room to see a bio hazard sticker on his door and had to wear a mask to enter. i asked what was going on, and they told me “your dad fell out of his bed last nite and now he has an infection ” ” but he’s fine..we x rayed him and nothing’s broken ” iasked her about the bed alarm, and she told me they forgot to install it. i looked over to the still standing urine stain on the floor..still there, and i’d bet a direct cause of my dad’s infection. i notified the nurses and once again was told it would be removed and disinfected.next day am visit stain still there..i asked for a bucket of hot water and disinfectant and i would clean it. i was assured again that they crew was on it’s way and it would be removed…pm visit..you guessed it stain nastier than before. i told them that i will wait for them to clean it and wouldn’t leave until it was gone, and that if they needed to call security then do so. a short time later, a nasty dispositioned , bad attitude, sad excuse for a hospital worker arrived with a bucket of water that was nastier than the urine stain itself, and proceded to make the mess bigger. when i read of lee’s account of being in his own excrement, i had visions of my dad in his hospital stay. the treatment that my dad got was horrible. if my dad were a dog, the staff would be up on charges …the stories that i have are very similar to lee’s. my dad died on dec 27th 2007 a little over a month
    ‘s hospital care. the point is : my dad had the best insurance..what one thing didn’t pay, the other did , and what they didn’t pay, a third insurance co would pay…minimal co pays some none at all.in fact his insurance was so good that after they resuscitated him ( violating a no resus order ) and placed him on a ventilator and feeding tube..they were pressing me into giving the green light to amputate his left leg that had turned black…and warned me that the other limbs might follow suit quickly…i prayed and made the decision to remove him from life support at 6pm… he died around 1:15am the care he got was criminal. there is absolutely no question that if an animal was subjected to the same things my dad was…and in this case lee evans…there would be arrests ..and the charges would be cruelty to animals. even with the best insurances, hospital staff are ruled by managment theorists who can get a nurse to care for twice as many patients as they think they can, and squeeze every last penny out of a salaried employee. most staff are held from going beyond their duties. the “oh he’ll be alright for a little while till i can come back with clean diapers ” mentality is getting bigger. the nurse on my dad’s floor was responsible for 40..yes…forty senior patients. that is impossible to do. there needs to be a change in the way we americans view our seniors and care for them…a lot of us will be there sooner than later, and in lee evans case 63 is too early.. not to be sick ..not to be challenged..but to be mistreated like some run of the mill old person…

  12. Anthony Treacher - December 28, 2011

    Al Cestero. A moving and disturbing story. Tell it to everyone. These problems are not specifically American. Care of the sick and the elderly is neglected in other advanced economies, even with health insurance and resources. I am legal guardian for a 91 year old lady and it does not work here either. It is all very difficult. Our health institutions require more people. We must all show more compassion. And there we have it.

  13. Mike Soule - January 2, 2012

    This is what I copied and pasted from the USATF notification I received in my email. I went to the link and made a donation. It took me about 2 minutes to do. Please follow my lead if you haven’t already.

    National Track & Field Hall of Famer battling brain tumor
    Once the fastest man over 400 meters in the world; Lee Evans is now in a race for his life.

    A two-time Olympic gold medalist, Evans has been hospitalized with a brain tumor. The former world record holder has been receiving treatment, but the family has been left without medical insurance.

    In an effort to help with his rising medical expenses, family and friends have been writing about his situation and created a Paypal account for giving donations. For more information regarding the Paypal account and Evans’ condition, visit http://www.thenation.com/blog/165343/1968-olympian-lee-evans-has-brain-tumor-and-no-health-insurance.

    The 63-year-old Evans won gold medals and established world records in both the 400m and 4x400m at the 1968 Olympic Games. His 400m time of 43.86 stood for nearly 20 years and the 4x400m time of 2:56.16 was a world mark that stood for 24 years. One of the founding members of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, Evans was a 1983 inductee into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.

  14. Donna Raleigh Bowen - July 30, 2012

    Lee you “allowed me” as a student to run with you. I was two years younger than you. That was a gift you gave me at a young age. Today I am a brain tumor survivor. I attribute my healing to a relationship with Jesus. Jesus is a Free Gift from God for all of us. Maybe you already know Him. If not, let me give something back. Just close your eyes and invite Him into your heart. Have a chat about life. He loved you first.

  15. Donna Raleigh Bowen - July 30, 2012

    Lee you “allowed me” as a student to run with you. I was 2 years younger. That was a gift you gave me. Today I am a brain tumor survivor. I attribute my healing to Jesus – a Free Gift from God. Let me pass something back to you. The best gift I know. Jesus.

  16. David jenkins - November 7, 2012

    Plse can someone email me about Lee Evans situation right now.

    He was a track hero to me. In 68. And since. Plse can u send contact info. Hospital or family. Thank you.

    Dave Jenkins UK athlete . AAU Champ 400m 1975

  17. Martha R James - May 22, 2014

    …just saw report on condition of Lee Evans today May22/2014 Thanks to DONNA R.Bowen directing us to pray a prayer of thanks for the life GOD has graciously given Lee and point him to GODS ONLY SON ,Jesus the SAVIOR ,LORD and KEEPER of our mind, soul & body.I trust he will cast his care on GODS WORD make any adjustments in his life that he knows needs attention. I claim GODS Victory in his life. My son G.Larry James was on that winning team in 1968 and he is still by accepting JESUS as his Saviour and Lord over his life. Larry ran his best race ever and won victoriously when he departed from earth to the GREATEST REWARD /HEAVEN IN 2008 ,Nov.6 his Birthday. BLESSINGS!

  18. saju zachariah - June 2, 2015

    Praying for him.where is now?

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