#GoingToBat: David Ortiz helping children in places he calls home

With 24 home runs and a .330 batting average entering play July 22, David Ortiz's booming bat hasn't shown any signs of slowing down in his farewell season. Neither has the slugger's work with the David Ortiz Children's Fund, a legacy of giving that will last long beyond his retirement.

In February 2005, Ortiz visited children at the CEDIMAT Hospital in his home country of the Dominican Republic. Overwhelmed by the experience, Ortiz created the DOCF as a way to be proactive in the effort to support health care for children.

The DOCF holds galas, golf tournaments and other various fundraisers throughout the year. The 4th Annual David Ortiz Children's Fund Gala was held at Boston Park Plaza on July 18.

The night brought a taste of the Dominican Republic to New England and benefited children who do not have access to the critical services they need.

Partnering with Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and World Pediatric Project, the DOCF's Galas have raised more than $500,000 in the first three years.

The funds raised support various DOCF initiatives, including detecting congenital heart disease prior to birth, evaluating patients from rural areas in the D.R. who don't have access to echocardiography and providing heart surgeries and post-surgery care to children in need. The DOCF has helped more than 500 children receive life-saving surgeries.

The Gala featured Dominican cuisine, traditional music and dancing and a silent auction. Guests included Ortiz's Red Sox teammates Mike Brenly, Brock Holt, Dustin Pedroia, Rick Porcello, Travis Shaw, Blake Swihart, Steven Wright and Chris Young. The night also included a performance by singer and fellow Dominican Kat DeLuna.

Born in Santo Domingo, Ortiz is one of the most well-recognized Dominican baseball players as well as a Red Sox icon, and his pride for his home country and New England is evident in the work of the DOCF.

Whether he's hitting home runs or helping kids in need, "Big Papi" continues to deliver in the clutch.

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Major Leaguers are #GoingToBat for causes near and dear to them, as they personify the Players Trust's motto to "care, act and inspire." To learn more about the charitable interests and activities of David Ortiz and other Major Leaguers, please visit the Players Trust's website.