In the time it takes to play an inning of baseball, five children will be diagnosed with cancer worldwide. With that in mind, Marymount Universitys varsity baseball team raised $22,000 over the course of two seasons to help fight the disease.
We wanted to do community service, and fighting childhood cancer is something everyone can get behind, said Head Coach Frank Leoni.
At the end of November, the Saints visited Childrens National Health System in Washington, D.C., which received half the money raised. The hospital used the funds to purchase refrigerators for patient rooms. During a long hospital stay, Leoni said the children liked to be able to have some of their own food or treats.
The refrigerators may seem like a small thing, but theyve gotten tremendous feedback about it, he added. The more you can put kids in a positive, happy place, the more it reduces their stress, which is a huge advantage in their recovery.
The team also gave the youngsters Marymount baseball caps and other memorabilia. The other half of the donation went to cancer research.
The Saints became involved in the effort through the Vs. Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering athletes and communities to fund lifesaving childhood cancer efforts. It was formed by a former University of North Carolina baseball player who survived a cancer diagnosis his freshman year.
To show support for children with cancer, the Marymount team held head shaving events the past two Octobers. A video of the initial head shaving noted that in the United States, more children die from cancer than any other disease. (Watch it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oPETHLqtIc)
The Vs. Cancer Foundations goal is to provide any team, athlete and community with the ability to help kids with cancer. For more information, go to vs-cancer.org.
The 2015 Marymount University baseball team, with heads shaved in support of childhood cancer patients.
The Marymount Saints baseball team during a check presentation at Childrens National Health System in Washington, D.C.