Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Pearl Washington 'quite emotional' watching Syracuse basketball reach Final Four

Syracuse, N.Y. — Pearl Washington watched Syracuse defeat Virginia Sunday night from the comfort of his East Harlem apartment. After the Orange won, after SU had snatched victory from what appeared to be certain defeat, the most electrifying player in Orange basketball history reacted to what he'd seen.

"Last night, he was quite emotional," his friend, Mark Finney, said. "When they won, he had some tears."

Washington watched with family Sunday as his Orange reached the Final Four. He continues to battle a brain tumor diagnosed last summer. His condition requires an aide to assist him and his fiancée on an around-the-clock basis.

"He's resting comfortably and he's just enjoying each day," Finney said.

Syracuse players continue to wear their orange warm-up tops with the white Pearl script splashed across their chests. Nike has supplied all its teams with "Always Reppin'" long-sleeved shirts to wear during the NCAA Tournament. But Orange players, some more than others, have defied the vanilla feel of those "Reppin'" shirts and opted, instead, for their personalized Pearl shirts. Those Pearl jerseys were also made by Nike.

Finney said Washington sees players wearing the shirts bearing his name during televised games and from photos others have sent him.

"He's very, very overwhelmed," Finney said. "The entire family is just so appreciative of the support from the university, the coaches, the current players, the former players and fans across the country."

To help defray costs for Washington's care, a Go Fund Me campaign has been rejuvenated, said Matt Rose, spokesman for Brandon Steiner, who initiated the Go Fund Me idea. Washington needs nursing care, Rose said. Because of his fragile immune system, Rose said, his home requires constant cleaning.

The Go Fund Me campaign has raised $56,677, "100 percent of which is going toward Pearl's care," Rose said. Steiner Sports is also auctioning off items to help defray costs. That auction, Rose said, will close Saturday night.

Rose said Steiner visited with Washington recently.

"He's accepting visitors," Rose said. "People are surrounding him with positive energy."

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