As the Red Sox celebrate 61 years of partnership with the Jimmy Fund, August will again be designated as "Jimmy Fund Month," with the club paying tribute to the Jimmy Fund's remarkable efforts in cancer research, treatment, and care in children and adults at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
To launch the month-long tribute, the Red Sox' Brock Holt will visit with patients at the Jimmy Fund Clinic today, August 1, at 11 a.m.
Prior to each home game throughout the month of August, a Jimmy Fund patient will be honored and will then deliver the game ball to the pitcher's mound.
August begins and ends with large fundraisers for the team's official charity. This year is the 11th anniversary of the Red Sox Foundation's sponsorship of the Pan-Mass Challenge, which takes place August 2-3. This year is also the 13th annual Red Sox Jimmy Fund Radiotelethon on WEEI and NESN, which takes place August 19-20.
The relationship 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 child 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. The ensuing partnership is the longest of its kind in the history of sport.
The new owners of the Red Sox introduced the radiothon on WEEI in 2002, and NESN added television coverage in 2003. That event alone over the years has generated more than $34.2 million.
The club also became a prominent sponsor of the Pan-Mass Challenge, created by Billy Starr, which has raised a stunning $414 million in its history.
This year, the Jimmy Fund paid tribute to the Red Sox' longstanding partnership. On May 29, Dr. Edward J. Benz, CEO and President of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, unveiled new Red Sox signage on the outside of the Charles A. Dana Building on Brookline Avenue, presented a new Boston Red Sox Jimmy Fund Gallery in the Dana Building lobby chronicling the history of the relationship, and re-named the Dana Building auditorium as the "Boston Red Sox Jimmy Fund Auditorium."