Major League Baseball has launched a league-wide effort to raise childhood cancer awareness by dedicating a special "Childhood Cancer Awareness Day" at all MLB ballparks on Friday, September 2nd. In partnership with Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), MLB has encouraged Clubs to support this new initiative in commemoration of childhood cancer awareness month through a variety of special activations. All Major League players, coaches, umpires and grounds crew members will wear gold ribbon decals and wristbands to further promote awareness for childhood cancer, which is the leading cause of death by disease in children aged 15 and under in the United States. In Canada, more than 1,500 children will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Every year, an estimated 250,000 new cases of cancer affect children under the age of 20 worldwide.
"Advocating for the health and well-being of young people affected by this terrible disease is a cause that Major League Baseball and our Clubs are proud to support," said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. "Through our league-wide effort, we will join Stand Up To Cancer and many organizations dedicated to this fight in a unified demonstration of our sport's commitment to ending childhood cancer."
Clubs may choose to partner with local nonprofits, including hospital partners or organizations focused on childhood cancer, for their Childhood Cancer Awareness Day activations. Additional options for Clubs to show their support for the effort include check presentations to nonprofits and hospitals, and youth cancer survivors' participation in pregame ceremonies. Special guests will participate in pregame ceremony activities such as ceremonial first pitches and announcing "Play Ball!" Clubs and players may also donate tickets, ballpark suites and funds to Stand Up To Cancer and local partner organizations. Below are a few Club examples around activation for MLB's Childhood Cancer Awareness Day:
- Chicago Cubs: Cubs players will don a special childhood cancer awareness batting practice shirt on September 2nd, in addition to gold wristbands and decals.
- Seattle Mariners: For their first Childhood Cancer Awareness event at Safeco Field, the Mariners will partner with G1ve A Buck Fund to raise awareness and research funds for Seattle Children's highly successful immunotherapy trial, Strong Against Cancer. Through a special ticketing offer, fans can receive a Mariners G1ve A Buck Night T-shirt and refreshments in a special pregame event.
- Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies are partnering with Nemours Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children and the Nemours Foundation for Childhood Cancer Awareness Day on September 2nd. Among the many initiatives that night, pediatric cancer patients will be involved as honorary groundskeepers, take part in a first pitch ceremony, and a special Lineup of Courage will feature nine kids battling cancer meeting players as they take the field. The Phillies will also provide a Gold Suite, specially decorated for the nine Lineup of Courage participants and their families.
- Texas Rangers: As part of the Rangers' activation on September 2nd, more than 300 individuals from over a dozen childhood cancer-focused charities will be part of a pregame presentation, forming a human gold ribbon in the outfield as part of the program. The Rangers Foundation and Derek Holland's 60 feet 6 Foundation are providing the gold t-shirts for the ribbon.
Clubs that are away on September 2nd were able to continue the effort on another home date in September. Below are two Club examples of activation beyond Childhood Cancer Awareness Day:
- Arizona Diamondbacks: The D-backs will once again team up with Phoenix Children's Hospital to dedicate the September 16th and 17th home games to raising awareness and funds for Phoenix Children's Hospital's pediatric cancer center in conjunction with September's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Together, the D-backs and PCH will encourage fans to "Go Gold" for childhood cancer awareness as well as welcome a special group of cancer warriors from PCH's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders to participate in various ballpark and baseball experiences. These experiences include a special check presentation to the PCH Foundation, PCH kids in gold jerseys taking the field with D-backs players, lineup card delivery and the 7th inning stretch, among several other opportunities. The D-backs have been encouraging their fans to "Go Gold" for childhood cancer awareness and to support PCH's efforts to fight the disease since 2014.
- Toronto Blue Jays: On Friday, September 9th, the Blue Jays will host families associated with Childhood Cancer Canada, who will be recognized during the game and in the game's broadcast. Additionally, several of these children will help lead the crowd in the 7th inning stretch.
Hall of Famer Tom Glavine and his wife, Chris, are advocates for the fight against childhood cancer and are long-standing supporters of CURE Childhood Cancer. They played an important role in the development of this new league-wide initiative.
Tom Glavine said: "For the 12 past years, Chris and I have been involved in the fight against Childhood Cancer. One of the challenges we have experienced is the lack of awareness surrounding how different it is from cancer that affects adults. We have made it our goal to leave no stone unturned in bringing awareness to a new level, and we are honored that MLB has brought the tragedy of Childhood Cancer to the national spotlight. This initiative by MLB will go a long way in giving the kids battling this disease the voice they so deserve. We thank Commissioner Manfred, MLB and all MLB Clubs for taking on this fight."
MLB Advanced Media will coordinate a digital effort to increase exposure of this effort by placing information and editorial features on MLB.com, Club sites and MLBCommunity.org.
MLB and Clubs have supported the fight against cancer over the years. As Stand Up To Cancer's founding donor, Major League Baseball has provided both financial support (nearly $40 million) and countless opportunities to build the Stand Up To Cancer grassroots movement by encouraging fans around the world to get involved. MLB has recognized SU2C at its jewel events since the 2009 World Series. Recent Club activations have included special gold pediatric cancer awareness batting practice t-shirts, online campaigns to empower fans to become fundraisers for pediatric cancer research and donations to local children's hospitals. Previous league-wide efforts included a $1 million donation to the CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation.