Yesterday marked the launch of the Strike 3 Foundation‘s first community initiative Play It Forward. This unique call to action invites kids everywhere to join in the fight against pediatric cancer by using their creativity, imagination and innovation to become social entrepreneurs. Nearly 15 years elapsed between the time my sister was diagnosed with cancer and the Strike 3 Foundation was founded. Why wait to make a difference?
Throughout my stops in the Major Leagues (and there have been plenty), I have come across some amazingly selfless kids working to combat this awful disease. A 13-year-old in California encouraged his Bar Mitzvah guests to donate to Strike 3 in lieu of gifts and raised over $5,000. A 7-year-old in New York (even Yankees fans show signs of altruism) allotted $1 of his $3 weekly allowance to recreational spending, $1 to be saved, and $1 donated to charity, and encouraged his classmates to do the same.
These anecdotes offer a mere snapshot of the immeasurable potential possessed by our next generation of leaders. Thousands of kids across Red Sox Nation and beyond are filled with creativity and inspiration and compassion. Play It Forward gives these kids a limitless forum and a boundless platform on which to amaze us all.
I am a neophyte when it comes to blogging, but I’m a quick learner and I promise improvement. In this forum, I am determined to offer a unique perspective on the philanthropic ventures of professional athletes. Little happens on the field without documentation by 100 140-character snippets, 50 Facebook pages, 20 radio stations, 10 broadcasters, and 5 major networks. Off the field however, player notes are dominated by largely disparaging remarks. Many of my teammates share endeavors that shed light on important issues and causes, and their passions are neither unique to this team or this sport. Rather, benevolence is a common thread throughout all major professional sports, and there are some incredible stories to be told.
Enter Play It Forward.