MLB Marks Sept. 5 as “Childhood Cancer Awareness Day”; Cardinals have been helping children in this area

On-Field Personnel Will Wear “Gold” to Complement Efforts by Clubs in Ballparks and With Community Hospitals

For the fifth consecutive year, MLB and its Clubs attempt to raise awareness for childhood cancer by designating Saturday, September 5th for a special league-wide “Childhood Cancer Awareness Day” in home ballparks. In collaboration with their Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), MLB will combine a visual and ceremonial demonstration of support for the cause with outreach to local hospitals treating young patients in their communities. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States and Canada.

On Saturday, September 5th, all on-field personnel, including players, coaches, and umpires will wear gold ribbon decals and wristbands during all games. Activities in the ballparks will include pregame ceremonies, cardboard cutouts of pediatric patients in stands at ballparks, virtual patient first pitches, virtual player hospital visits, and more.

Just last July, manager Mike Shildt came to the Rainbows for Kids All-Star Baseball Game at All-Star Performance. Shildt (shown in photo above with the kids) gave an inspiration talk to the parents of local children with cancer and then he went down each “dugout” and talked to every child there, introducing himself and giving them motivation. Finally, he got out on the field with them and played. This was all after a complete nine-inning game that he managed at Busch Stadium.

Rainbows for Kids has been having the annual “All-Star Game” for years and many players have been involved. Of the current players on the team Matt Carpenter, Daniel Ponce de Leon  and Kolten Wong have donated their time to play with the kid and help raise funds and awareness– and broadcaster Brad Thompson has also been out in recent years.

All-Star Performance baseball facility donates the field for the event.

Also last year, Rainbows for Kids was selected by Kolten’s Crew to host a group of children to the ballpark. They got to go on the field and spend time with Wong before the game. Each family got to pose for pictures with Wong and he talked to the children individually.

Wong has said that using his position to help children is something he cherishes in baseball.

The Cardinals always host a large group of families from Rainbows for Kids to a game. It is a fun day for all and the families get to participate in a brunch and then sit together to cheer their team on.

Fredbird has been very kind to Rainbows for Kids and is always a fun addition to any event he is invited to.

Daniel Ponce de Leon volunteered his time at Spring Training to help raise funds and entertain the audience for Rainbows for Kids.

Ponce de Leon’s appearance was part of the annual Baseball Bash sponsored by and the Homewood Suites in Palm Beach Gardens.

Now, during the pandemic, all of the baseball activities have had to be cancelled for the children, but each child was given a “baseball” (whiffle ball) bat and ball so they could be reminded of the fun event in hopes they will be able to have it again.

Even during COVID-19, the families are able to watch Cardinals games and feel happy that they actually got to play with the manager and some of the players.

Rainbows for Kids was started 20 years ago to bring fun and hope to families of children with cancer after a local St. Louis family experienced a young family member going through it. When a child get cancer it affects all other children in the family plus a huge toll is paid on the entire family.

According to statistics from the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation only 4% of the billions of dollars the government spends annually on cancer research is directed towards treating childhood cancer. This is a fact that greatly upsets families of children with cancer. They are in a race for their children’s lives and the more research being done, the more chance for each child’s survival.

Throughout the years as September rolls around, advocates of awareness within the pediatric cancer work to inspire others to work for a cure, donate to pediatric cancer causes, and remember these families in prayer. This week, First Lady Melania Trump posted that the White House was lit up in gold lighting in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Day.

There are cold facts about cancer. It is devastating when a family hears the words. According to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, cancer is the leading disease-related cause of death for children and adolescents ages 1-19, and 1 in 264 children and adolescents will develop cancer before the age of 20.  300,000 children were diagnosed with cancer in the world last year.

While knowing there needs to be more research in this area, Rainbows for Kids seeks to give hope to families. Many children are going through experimental testing in hopes of finding more cures.

There is so much more hope for children with cancer with an estimated 15.5 million childhood cancer survivors in the U.S. and survivorship research is more important than ever. Though many recover from cancer, there are the “Late Effects” that can stay with the child throughout their lives. Rainbows for Kids helps the families in treatment, but they also continue with the children who experience late effects.

A few common late effects may include (these will vary depending on the type of cancer and form of treatment a child receives):

  • Memory or hearing loss
  • Learning disabilities
  • Nerve damage, pain and weakness
  • Stunted bone growth
  • Secondary cancers
  • More cavities or loss of teeth
  • Heart damage
  • Delayed or early puberty and infertility
  • Depression and anxiety

With September being designated Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the spotlight turns to these families. They live with it every day but through the hope that is provided by various charities including MLB’s Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), Rainbows for Kids and many others families can have a little help with getting through a devastating time.

For more information on Rainbows for Kids CLICK HERE 

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