To commence Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the Tampa Bay Rays will join Major League Baseball and all MLB teams in dedicating a special "Childhood Cancer Awareness Day" on Friday, September 2. On that day, the Rays will wear special gold Childhood Cancer Awareness Month T-shirts during batting practice prior to their game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.
Following the game, Rays players will sign these shirts and they will be auctioned off on raysbaseball.com/auction with proceeds benefitting the Tampa-based National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Moffitt Cancer Center and Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. The Rays auction will be live from Tuesday, September 6 at 8:30 a.m. through Friday, September 16 at 8:00 p.m. The shirts were provided by Majestic Apparel, the official uniform provider of Major League Baseball. It is the second consecutive year that the Rays have worn special T-shirts to mark the beginning of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
"We are pleased to make this an annual initiative to bring attention to such a worthy cause and to all those working to bring us closer to a cure," said Rays President Brian Auld. "Our community is very fortunate to have three renowned institutions like the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Moffitt Cancer Center and Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital and we are proud to have a partnership with each."
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. On September 2, 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 age 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.
All Clubs were able to choose to partner with local nonprofits, including hospital partners or organizations focused on childhood cancer, for their Childhood Cancer Awareness Day activations.
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 for the past six years during the 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.
For the past five springs, players, coaches and front office staff have shaved their heads as part of the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation's "Cut for a Cure" event to pay tribute to children fighting cancer. In addition, the Rays frequently make trips to the hematology/oncology unit at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg to visit patients and families who are affected by this disease.