This past Saturday at Sun Life Stadium I completed for the 2nd year in a row the Quest of getting to a regularly schedule game at all 30 MLB ballparks in one season.
This season for me was all about raising awareness and funds for the SADS Foundation in memory of my wife Shawn Marie. I had set a goal of $10,000 for the summer and with the corporate sponsors we are currently at $18,300 and will top $20,000 in the coming days. The highlight of the summer happened not at a MLB ballpark, but at the AAA ballpark in Salt Lake City where we dontated an AED to Spring Mobile Park in Shawn Marie's memory.
Along the way I was fortunate to meet up with many Ballpark Chasers and none more special than finally meeting Ken Lee in Seattle. I met up with the 30/30 guys in Philly back in April and again this past Saturday in Miami. I also met Gary Herman at Citi Field on September 10th at the SADS Awareness night at Citi Field. That night the New York Mets donated 60 tickets for the game which went to families in the NY area who are living and thriving with a SADS condition.
Many great memories but the thing I will remember most has been the spirit of all the wonderful people I have met who are either living with a SADS condition or have lost a loved one to a SADS condition. From Meg Sullivan in Minnesota who lost her sister to ARVD and has herself been diagnosed with ARVD, the same condition we lost Shawn to, to the Letino family of Libertyville, IL who are living and thriving with Long QT, to the 50 folks we hung out with in Salt Lake City at Spring Mobile Park to the 80 folks we hung out with in New York City at Citi Field and to the Metoyer family of LA, all 18 of them, who I had the great fortune to meet at Dodger Stadium. To meet just one of these families is an honor – to meet all of them in one summer, well words cannot describe the feeling.
I will make a plug now for the SADS Foundation. When Shawn Marie passed away I contacted the ARVD research group at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. I wanted to partner with them and do some good with the baseball stuff I was doing. It took them 3 weeks to get back to me. I also contacted the American Heart Association and well, they were just a bit too big to get involved with a two bit operation like mine. Then I got an email from Laura Wall at the SADS Foundation who basically offered me help in my recovery from Shawn’s passing. She didn’t want anything from me – just offered words of comfort and assistance. From that simple 200 word email grew the Where’s Bob? Campaign (we have the t-shirt to prove it) that has raised in excess of $18,000; has a life saving AED machine placed at a ballpark in Salt Lake City and has spread awareness of SADS that will save lives that we will never know about.
If you are so inclined to donate to various charities and foundations please take a moment to consider the SADS Foundation. They are a small group that does wonders in saving lives and assisting with people like me who have lost a loved one and if you don’t think your donation matters – well at lunch the other day with Laura her Blackberry kept beeping; she told me that she gets an email every time a donation is made to the SADS Foundation. The VP of Marketing gets an email with every donation!!! Very cool knowing your donation will not go unnoticed.
One last thing - do me a favor and keep Laura's email beeping this off-season!!! The link to donate is attached to this blog.
PS - My schedule for 2011 has been made and published. Will I go for all 30 for a 3rd season in a row? Not sure - stay tuned....