While the month of September is known for compelling playoff races and prospect call-ups in the baseball world, the next 30 days are also dedicated to childhood cancer awareness, and Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner is spreading the message.
On Friday night at Yankee Stadium, the 33-year-old All-Star wore two pairs of autographed, customized New Balance cleats against the Boston Red Sox, both of which will be auctioned off to benefit Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital and its Pediatric Cancer Research Center. Gardner also invited a few kids with cancer to the game as his special guests, and the Yankees donated four tickets and a meet-and-greet with Gardner on the field for an upcoming game.
“We’ve designed some special cleats for me to wear on Friday night to auction off to raise money to fund childhood cancer research,” Gardner told People Magazine’s Liz McNeil.
Both Gardner and his wife, Jessica, visited Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Pediatric Center on Tuesday. While Gardner signed baseballs, a number of kids secretly autographed a pair of the customized cleats, which came as a surprise to the Yankees’ veteran.
“As a mom of two little boys, [Miller, 6, and Hunter, 8] it’s especially hard and very emotional to see any child sick much less battling cancer,” Jessica Gardner told People. “These kids and their families go through so much and are so strong. Our hope is to help raise the awareness of the need for more funding for pediatric cancer research so that no child will be told, ‘You have cancer.’ No child should ever have cancer.”
Each day, 42 famalies in the United States receive news that their child or teenager has cancer. Memorial Sloan Kettering accepts all donations here.