BOSTON, MA – The Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund today announced that they will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the relationship between the baseball club and charity throughout 2013.
At an event launching the celebration of the partnership, the Red Sox presented the Jimmy Fund with a $60,000 check, the club's 100th Act of Kindness; announced Will Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the 2013 Jimmy Fund co-captains; the creation of a permanent display at Fenway Park commemorating the Jimmy Fund; and announced the dedication of a suite for use one occasion during the season by Jimmy Fund patients and their families and caretakers made possible by the generous donation of Art Kelly, a friend of the Red Sox and long-time supporter of the Jimmy Fund.
Also marking the anniversary, the club will create a Jimmy Fund Chorus comprising singers who have been touched by the Jimmy Fund or Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The voluntary chorus group, unlimited in number and age, will sing at various times at Fenway Park and bring good will throughout New England and Red Sox Nation.
"We are often inspired to see the number of people living normal lives after receiving heroic treatment and care at Dana-Farber," said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino, who was treated for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1985 and 1986, long before he joined the club in 2002. "One can imagine the inspiration this good will chorus can bring to children, to seniors, and to those receiving care throughout our region. It is a small gesture of honor to the Jimmy Fund; it's a small way to improve people's lives with people whose lives have been treated successfully."
Auditions to participate in the volunteer chorus will begin in March. Details will be announced. Anyone who has felt the effect of the Jimmy Fund may audition.
In addition to the chorus, the club in 2013 will present the 12th annual Red Sox Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on WEEI and NESN on August 27 and 28. The event, which started in 2002, has raised more than $31 million for research, treatment, and care at Dana-Farber.
"Dana-Farber is honored and so very appreciative of the 60 year commitment the Red Sox have made to the Jimmy Fund," said Dana-Farber President and CEO Edward Benz, MD. "Without the Red Sox support during its early years, the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber would not be the world-class cancer center it is today. The importance of the Red Sox support continues to this day. On behalf of our patients and their families, we thank the entire Red Sox organization, its ownership group, and especially the generous fans of Red Sox Nation, for being united in our efforts to eradicate cancer."
As a service to Red Sox fans throughout the baseball season, Dana-Farber's Blum Family Resource Center Van will be parked outside Fenway Park to provide fans with information on cancer education, awareness, and prevention.
Among those in attendance at today's event were Dana-Farber President/CEO Dr. Edward J. Benz Jr.,
Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino, Manager John Farrell, Third Baseman Will Middlebrooks, COO Sam Kennedy, and Red Sox Hall of Famer Bill Monbouquette, who was also treated at Dana-Farber. From WEEI were VP of Programming & Operations for Entercom in Boston Jason Wolfe, and morning show hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan. Representing the Yawkey Foundation were its Chairman John Harrington and President Jim Healey. Also in attendance was former Partners HealthCare Chairman and founder of Hill Holiday, Jack Connors, and play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox Spanish Beisbol Network Uri Berenguer,
The Red Sox' association with the cancer institute dates back to 1947, when Hall of Famer Ted Williams began visiting patients, often before arriving at the ballpark just up the street. His role as a pioneer in the development of the Jimmy Fund is commemorated in the bronze statue of him with a Jimmy Fund patient that stands outside Gate B at Fenway Park.
The Jimmy Fund was formally launched in 1948 when the Variety Club of New England (now known as the Variety Children's Charity of New England) organized a radio broadcast from the bedside of pediatric cancer patient Carl Einar Gustafson, who was nicknamed "Jimmy" because at the time, the stigma of cancer dissuaded people from revealing their names. Members of the Boston Braves took part in this fundraising broadcast, helping raise enough money to purchase a new television set for Jimmy.
From those origins, the Braves began an association with the Jimmy Fund, but when they moved from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953, the Red Sox adopted the Jimmy Fund as their official team charity.