BALTIMORE -- Zoe Stauch of Eldersburg, Md., walked into Camden Yards on Friday afternoon, clad in Orioles gear and with a huge grin. Several hours later, the 6-year-old Stauch -- who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last year -- threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches prior to the Orioles-Yankees game in honor of childhood cancer awareness month.
The Orioles, along with MLB teams around baseball, wore gold ribbons and wristbands to raise awareness and show their support. Third baseman Manny Machado even donned gold cleats, and he homered in the O's 8-0 win.
"[I] told Manny before the game, 'You are going to have to steal a base with those shoes on,'" Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "But he stole four [referencing the homer].
"It's a reminder of the impact that our guys, everyone can have. They wore the T-shirts for BP. We have people behind batting practice with Make-A-Wish and cystic fibrosis and pediatric cancer. It just reminds you that there's a lot of other things going on in this world that you should keep in the forefront. Any chance we can help with that is pretty humbling."
Stauch, who lobbed a ball to the Oriole Bird, is part of the Cool Kids Campaign, a local nonprofit in Towson, Md., that's dedicated to improving the quality of life of pediatric oncology patients and their families.
Every year, an estimated 250,000 new cases of cancer affect children under the age of 20 worldwide.
The Orioles also honored Dr. Yoram Unguru as the Birdland Community Hero for his dedication to helping children battling cancer at Horizon Day Camp. Dr. Unguru, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at The Herman and Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai and a core faculty member of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, serves as medical director of Horizon Day Camp and has played an instrumental role in bringing Horizon to Baltimore.
September is pediatric cancer awareness month, and Major League Baseball dedicated Friday, Sept. 2, to pediatric cancer awareness.