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Fighting on

On Wednesday morning, Dustin Barr was in Toronto receiving yet another round of chemotherapy.
Dustin Barr, right, shot 76 on Friday at Whitewater to finish second in the district junior golf championship.

On Wednesday morning, Dustin Barr was in Toronto receiving yet another round of chemotherapy.

By the afternoon the 18-year-old Hammarskjold High School graduate was back on the links in Thunder Bay, getting set for the Thunder Bay District Golf Association Junior Championship. Two days later, following rounds of 75 and 76, Barr had managed to capture his age group, finishing second to Conor Carr in the overall championship, two shots back.

Barr is still facing operations on his pelvis and pancreas as doctors attempt to remove the cancer that’s threatening to ravage his young body.

All in all, he was pretty pleased with his finish, given the circumstances.

“It was going pretty good. I tried to stay with Conor as much as I can and take advantage. I didn’t really putt that well today, but the greens were tough. It was tough with the wind out there. I’m pretty happy with my score. I think I did pretty well,” said Barr, who sported a golf hat ringed with hair, his own hair lost to the effects of his chemotherapy treatment.

The youngster, an aspiring PGA Tour player, admitted the radiation therapy was draining, but refused to use it as an excuse for not winning the title.

“It takes a lot out of you when you’re just sitting there. I walked (the course) yesterday and felt pretty fine. I felt pretty strong. But today I took a cart so it was pretty easy. I didn’t feel tired today,” said Barr, first diagnosed with the disease this past March.

“It was a pretty big shock, because I’m really healthy and I’m really good with my health. I took gym all through high school. I was just surprised I had this. It’s not really a fun thing to go through.”

His fellow golfers have rallied around him.

For the past several weeks, under the guidance of instructor Dustin Wilson, junior golfers have been collecting pledges. On Friday, in solidarity with Barr, a group of his colleagues shaved their heads, the money collected used to help offset the cost of his medical treatment.

Wilson, who has taken Barr to several big tournaments in southern Ontario and the United States, said the fact the youngster, regarded by junior golfers as a role model and local icon, could even play in the junior championship is amazing.

“He fell two short, but I don’t think his placing can hold value to who he is as a person and how much he’s fighting. He’s pretty much heroic in my mind. The things that he’s done within the last couple months just to fight this, never mind playing golf three or four times a week and still continues to shoot the scores he does is remarkable.”

All together the group raised between $8,000 and $10,000.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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