Papi hosts annual fundraiser for pediatric care

Papi hosts annual fundraiser for pediatric care

BOSTON -- Red Sox slugger David Ortiz hosted the fourth annual David Ortiz Children's Fund Gala at the Boston Park Plaza on Monday night.

The charitable gala was a part of his season-long farewell tour, and all proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the David Ortiz Children's Fund.

"I've been doing this for years, and every year, [the event] just keeps getting better and better," Ortiz said. "There's a lot of sick kids out there and the reality is, God gave me the opportunity to be in this position. It's not just to benefit ourselves. It's also to make a difference in somebody else's life."

The event included a live performance from international singing sensation Kat DeLuna, who shares Ortiz's Dominican roots. ESPN personalities Steve Levy and Jonathan Coachman emceed the gala. Guests included teammates Steven Wright, Chris Young and Clay Buchholz, along with Red Sox manager John Farrell and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

The slugger is having a powerful season in his final season. Since announcing his retirement, Ortiz is hitting .327 with 22 home runs and 72 RBIs, leading the Majors in slugging (.663) and on-base percentage (.421).

When asked if anyone can change his mind about retiring, Ortiz laughed.

"I don't think so," he said.

"I know I'm a big force in this lineup," Ortiz said. "I don't want to become a distraction. That was my main goal since I announced my retirement. I also want to be in the playoffs and try to win another World Series before hanging it up. So everything's going well, we've been playing better, our pitching got better and hopefully it continues."

The David Ortiz Fund partners with MassGeneral Hospital for Children and the World Pediatric Project to provide critical pediatric health care for children in the New England area and the Dominican Republic.

Ortiz said he hopes more athletes look to change the world by the opportunities they are given.

"It's a good sample for some other athletes. Step up and try to do the same thing. Having the opportunity financially to provide for family is good, but there's a lot of people that are still out there that need this kind of help," Ortiz said.

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.