On Saturday afternoon, the Cardinals had just defeated the Angels and it was a long day for manager Mike Shildt but he headed over to All-Star Performance after the game to manage another team; a special team. Shildt, as well as Fredbird who had also had a long day, came out to entertain and talk with the children of Rainbows for Kids, a local 501(c)(3) charity for families of children with cancer and other serious illnesses.
Shildt poses with Fredbird and the 2019 Rainbows for Kids All-Stars and coaches
Rainbows for Kids is the official charity of STLSportsPage.com and Rob Rains had helped organize the baseball game. Rains serves along with many others as a volunteer coach to help brighten the lives of children going through serious medical issues. Volunteers shown in the back row of the picture above include from left to right, Bill Hepper, Mike Rains, Lizzie Kurowski, Steve Swaney, Tim Johnson, Mike Neumann, Rob Rains, Nancy LaRose and Lori Johnson.
Shildt was able to talk to the parents and even shared some advice.
Rains knew Shildt when he was managing in the minor leagues as he frequently goes to the Cardinals minor league teams for features, so when the Cardinals manager found out about the “All-Star Game” he was enthusiastic to help out.
One of the girls, Ariana Scoggins, who is dealing with cancer, sang the National Anthem. Though she is weak from having medication and treatment, she sang it acappella and did a great job.
The kids were introduced just like in the MLB All-Star Game, they get their name announced and run out to the base lines. They then went to their respective benches. Shildt went to each bench and walked down introducing himself to every child and talking to them.
Rainbows for Kids is celebrating 20 years in business and they have been doing the baseball team for almost half that time.
The team is open to all families with a child dealing with cancer or other serious disease or situations. No one is excluded due to skill level. There are girls, boys, brothers and sisters of those in treatment, kids in wheel chairs, crutches. The volunteers love the children where they are and make each one feel special.
Former major leaguer Matt Whitesides and his wife Bascha, who own All-Star Performance donate the facility for the event. It is special for the children because since it is indoors, it is climate controlled and the rain that poured down that day and then the heat were of no concern to the families. They also donated sporty backpacks for each child.
The only thing that mattered were that the kids had fun. There was bunting just like the “real” All-Star Game and volunteers including Paulette Johnson helped blow up balloons to use as decorations. Coaches Tim Bosch and Dave Bosch helped set up the “outfield fence” and Karen Gregg helped with the setup.
Rainbows for Kids volunteers manned a concession stand with free hot dogs and other food. Danny Kerth, Cindy Czaicki and Sharon Hoyt manned the hot dog stand.
Joan Spink is known as the “team mom” because she deals with the players and gets them their uniforms and supplies the water for the kids to drink every practice. She is shown, left with volunteer Sherry Opich. Every volunteer did so many jobs, but for convenience are just listed once here.
Maxine Hepper, Kelly Hepper, Jeri Neumann and Sally Tippett Rains were also on hand as volunteers.
This year the players’ white baseball pants were donated through St. Louis Youth Sports Outreach, which is run by Billy Mayhall. This is the second year in a row that Mayhall’s group has stepped up to help.
Rainbows for Kids strives to be a place where all children fit in and can play and feel important. For that reason, and to celebrate their 20th Anniversary, the charity is spearheading efforts to build a “wheelchair accessible” playground at Watson Trails Park. This will be special because there will be rides that a child in a wheelchair can ride on– staying in their chair. This is important because the parents can sit and watch their children playing with other children.
If you would like to make a donation, CLICK HERE
If know of any corporations or charities who would be interested in participating with a grant please contact Sally Rains at: SallyRains314@gmail.com.