The more I do research on sports-based foundations, the more I’m struck by just how powerful grassroots organizations can be. Although The Good In Sports has already touched on organizations working on fighting pediatric cancer, (“Strike Three, You’re Out Cancer”) I have, since then, found out about other organizations that also deserve recognition.
One of these organizations is the Georgia-based Rally Foundation, which was established in 2005 after William Olson’s brain cancer returned after an 18-month remission. William’s family, friends and local community never lost faith and set out to make a difference. Two of the leading members of this endeavor were William’s mother, Nancy, as well as local supporter, Dean Crowe. Said Nancy, “All that parents with children suffering from cancer really want is better treatment with fewer long-term debilitating side effects and cures. The only way this will happen is if childhood cancer research is better funded.”
Through the efforts of many hardworking individuals, especially Nancy, the Rally Foundation has done just that. It’s mission, simply put, is to raise money for pediatric cancer education and research through community-based efforts. One of the areas in which the Rally Foundation has been particularly successful is in cancer-based research. To that point, the Rally Foundation awards research grants to those studying pediatric cancers and cures. These important grants are awarded to clinical nurses, as well as those trained in cancer research. Fellowships have also been made available to those involved in research settings.
Recently, the Rally Foundation has gained special attention by Major League Baseball and the Atlanta Braves organization, in particular. Of note, before the Braves-Phillies game (on July 28), Lily Anderson, an eleven-year-old girl diagnosed with neuroblastoma, sang a very touching National Anthem in front of baseball fans and Rally Foundation supporters. While the anthem was important in bringing more awareness to the cause, the Foundation’s connection with the Braves runs deeper. Since 2008, Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann, as well as his wife, Ashley, have been spokespeople for the organization.
McCann’s own charitable involvement and sentiments can be best summarized by his own personal testimony, transcribed on the Rally Foundation website. McCann stated, “Kids get different cancers than adults, which means that different research is needed to find better treatments and cures. That’s why my wife Ashley and I have teamed up again with the Rally Foundation to help raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research so that these kids can get back to being kids.”
In order to raise funds to benefit the Foundation, they started the McCann 16 Challenge and teamed up with Atlanta residents and Rally Foundation supporters, Victoria and Skip Moore. For each home run hit by McCann during the 2011 baseball season, the Moore Family is generously donating $1,000. However, individuals and families can also make pledges! The goal is to reach pledges of $3,000 per home run and so far, total donations average $2,689.10. If you’re interested in helping them get to 3,000, head on over! Last year, the Challenge raised an extraordinary $43,337.55, demonstrating that individual contributions play a very significant role!
Let’s face it, raising awareness and funds for childhood cancer research is a great cause to support. Kudos to the Atlanta Braves and the McCann’s for their involvement. The McCann family is surely deserving of a TGiS Gold Star and we all appreciate the great things they are doing for the community! Keep it up!
Also, if you’re wondering about the young William Olson, he graduated from high school with a 4.0 and is now an honor student at Auburn University! Go Tigers!
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