August 30, 2011

Jimmy Fund Telethon

I'm copying this post from last year as it's very important to me and the WEEI Jimmy Fund Telethon is going on the next couple days. I realize many poker players don't have excess cash at this time, but figured I'd float it out there in case anyone felt like donating. Plus the stories of these kids are awesome:

I've been incredibly blessed finding poker as a profession. It has allowed me to travel, create my own hours, and has set me up well for the future. Not to mention is a lot of fun, I'm basically playing a game for a living. I give a percentage of my winnings every year to the Jimmy Fund and honestly it's my favorite expense of the year. I first got into it because I wanted to donate to a charity and the Redsox message board I read has an annual fundraiser as well. However the point of the post is to highlight what happened on August 17 2007 and why it was so easy to donate after that day.

Typically I go to Boston every summer for a game at Fenway park, the summer of 2007 was no different. I was riding up there on August 17 to see a 3 game set against the Angels. There was actually a doubleheader that day which was Clay Buchholz major league debut but I only had tickets to game 2. Coincidentally that was the day of the Jimmy Fund/NESN radio-Telethon in which NESN raises money for the Jimmy Fund.

Jordan Leandre was a patient at the Jimmy Fund clinic. He was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma at an early age and has battled it for most of his life. He loves baseball and watching the Redsox. In 2006 he sang the national anthem at Fenway from a wheelchair. In 2007 he was out of the wheelchair and singing the national anthem again, ironically at the game I was attending. I can't imagine the mental and physical strain he has had to endure in his time on earth, but he along with every other Jimmy Fund patient I've ever seen interviewed has a great outlook on life.

After he was done singing the national anthem he was supposed to run to first base. Most of the crowd knew this and it got extremely loud as he was approaching first. When he touched it there was a cheer and then a bit of a lull. Sort of like awesome he did it and the noise lowered. Then, he decided he was going to run to second, that's when Fenway became incredibly loud.

Now I've been in Fenway for a lot of memorable games. I've seen adults crying after a walkoff win against the A's, standing ovations numerous times, Yankees/Redsox games, but I never saw the pure emotional energy that was coming from the crowd that night as Jordan ran around the bases. Not only did he run to second, he decided to run to third and then home. Furthermore when the crowd recognized what he was doing after he touched first, we became louder and louder as well.

It seems as though Jordan was just having fun. Being around baseball my whole life I can tell you the first thing that kids do after games when they get on the field is run the bases and they always have a blast. It's sort of like a natural reaction and they never stop at first or second, they always run to the plate. Jordan was no different, It's impossible for a kid younger than 10 to stop at first base, they just can't do it and he like everyone else before him was having a ball. It just so happened he was doing it in front of 35,000 fans in one of the most famous baseball parks of all time.

With both Angels and Redsox players looking on and applauding he raced for third, then home. Here is a video of it. I am convinced it would have been even louder if half the crowd was not crying as he was sprinting around the bases. It is really something I will never forget and why it is very easy for me to donate to the Jimmy Fund each year.

Cancer is really a vicious disease and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who has not had family or friends that have had it. I'm not trying to pressure anyone into donating but here's a link in case anyone is interested as the telethon is today and tomorrow. Or you can text KCancer to 20222 to donate $10.

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"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."
- John Wooden




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