About Seth Feldman
Seth's Page
Seth Feldman was a beloved member of the Tevya community prior to his death in 1988 at the age of 17. He was also a lifelong athlete, committed to excellence in physical activity. This passion remained throughout his courageous 3½ year battle with a brain tumor. He had goals of playing varsity football, graduating from high school and attending college, all of which he accomplished. But he didn’t just think of himself and his own struggle. His dream was to find a cure so that no one else had to go through what he was going through, and he volunteered his time to work towards that end.

More than anything else, though, Seth wanted to be remembered. Now is the time to remember and celebrate how Seth lived his life at a place he loved, his summer home, Camp Tevya. Through the Seth Feldman Fitness Center, there will be a lasting impact on the Tevya community as we expand opportunities for our children to participate in health and wellness activities.

Buddy Thomas: Dartmouth's Seth Feldman left courageous and lasting impression

By Buddy Thomas

December 20, 2012 - 12:00 AM

I spoke with him just one time. But that 30-or-so minute conversation was long enough to

develop into a life-long memory.

To me, Seth Feldman was just another name on a football roster when we met for the first and

only time back in May of 1988. The initial handshake took place at the old Dartmouth High

School in the office of the school's athletic director and legendary football coach Carlin Lynch.

The memory was etched somewhere else, in a private area where, in less than a hour, I would

walk away from someone who had been just another name on a football roster to someone who

would become the bravest person I've ever known.

Seth had two goals in his young life. One was to play football; the other was to graduate from

high school and go on to college. Thankfully, he would realize both. But it was his story of

determination through adversity that has made such a lasting impression on me.

With his freshman football season behind him, Seth spent the summer of 1984 working out in

preparation for what he hoped would be a breakout sophomore year. The headaches he was

experiencing didn't concern him at first because football camp was just around the corner and

that was his focus. But when Seth got violently ill during the workouts, he spent the final day in

the camp's infirmary. And when the headaches and vomiting continued, he was admitted to the

hospital.

Tests was ordered and revealed no signs of a virus. But when a CAT scan was taken and showed

a massive growth on the brain, Seth was immediately transported to Children's Hospital in

Boston where a biopsy revealed a malignant tumor the size of an orange. Seth Feldman was no

longer fighting for a spot on the Dartmouth High School football roster, he was now fighting for

his life.

A second operation was Seth's best chance of survival, but doctors were leaving the choice up to

him. He took that chance and survived. But, by the time the new school year began, he was

facing nine weeks of chemotherapy, followed by four weeks or radiation, which ruled out any

chance he had of playing football. But Seth refused to abandon his goal. He still had his junior

and senior seasons ahead of him and, after returning to the classroom, he set his sights on the

upcoming pre-season camp. By then, the chemotherapy and radiation treatments had stopped

and, although weakened, Seth was ready to play.

He made it though the workouts and was assigned to the junior varsity team, where he was

penciled in as the place-kicker. He played the entire season and contributed to the team's success

by kicking 10 extra points. Seth continued to work hard in the off-season, hoping to kick his way

on the varsity squad for his final season.

But, in April, tragedy struck again.

The headaches returned and, when subsequent tests revealed another tumor, Seth underwent still

another operation — one that was plagued by complications. He developed meningitis, and

during surgery, his neck was twisted, causing numbness on his left side. Following the operation,

Seth was unable to sit up, stand or walk for any length of time and spent weeks in rehabilitation.

But, five weeks later, he went to his junior prom.

I remember teary eyes forming as Seth talked his way slowly, but clearly, through that interview.

And all the welling came from me. Seth's eyes seemed dry and were crystal clear, and an everpresent

smile radiated the area. It got a little brighter when he talked about finally getting his

chance to play with the varsity team as a senior.

His weakened condition limited him to what he could do. Lynch penciled him in as the back-up

place-kicker, and on Oct. 24, 1987, Seth Feldman successfully kicked an extra point in a 21-7

victory over Bishop Feehan. It was his first and only attempt in a season he was so determined to

play.

The following May, Seth was among 11 athletes who received the Massachusetts High School

Football Coaches Football Association Award, which was presented to a senior football player

who overcame a handicap or special hardship to serve as an inspiration to his team.

Following the football season, Seth continued to attend his high school classes, rest and make

periodic trips to Boston where he did volunteer work for the Jimmy Fund and lecturing at the

Dana Farber Cancer Institute. In the fall of 1988, Seth — a high school honor student — entered

Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.

Sadly, on Dec. 22, 1988, Seth Harris Feldman passed away four months into his freshman year.

He was just 17 years old — way too young to die, but old enough to leave a positive and lasting

impression on people of all ages. It's hard to believe that 24 years have passed since I was

fortunate enough to sit down and talk with the bravest person I have ever met.

 


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