The next time you find yourself becoming cynical about sports, thinking all athletes ever care about is themselves, remember that there are people out there like Alex Paluka.
While playing for the Utica Brewers in the Eastern Collegiate Baseball League five years ago, Alex came up with the idea to host a game as a fundraiser for two local women who were battling stage four breast cancer. The team wore pink jerseys during the game and raised $7,500, which they split between the two cancer patients.
Alex lost his mother to breast cancer on December 26, 2001, exactly one day after my own mother died from the same disease. Rather than letting the anger he felt about her death consume him, Alex found a way to do something positive with the game he loves to raise money for cancer research and also help people suffering from the disease.
Inspired by the success of that game, last year Alex Paluka founded The Cure, a non-profit traveling collegiate baseball team that will be touring various cities this summer. The team will play fundraising games against other collegiate baseball teams, donating a portion of the money to a local member of that community who is fighting cancer with the rest of the proceeds going to various universities' cancer research programs.
The Cure will also be awarding college scholarships to high school seniors who plan on playing baseball in college while studying medicine, with a focus on oncology and they will be hosting support groups in Alex's home ton of Indianapolis, IN for members of the community who have family members suffering from the disease.
The team will be comprised of ballplayers from Division I, II, III, NAIA and Junior Colleges who have not only superior baseball skills, but a track record of community involvement and an ability to relate to people battling cancer. In particular, they are looking for athletes that come with exceptional recommendations from current and former coaches.
The team will don pink uniforms, use pink bats and play in mostly East Coast stadiums draped in pink for the special fundraisers. In addition to raising funds from the baseball games, The Cure is hosting a 5K walk in Zionsville, IN as well as a golf outing fundraiser that will be held the day before the College World Series in Omaha, NE.
To find out more about The Cure, to donate or to get further information on where you can see them play, please visit their website at www.thecurebaseball.org
Pitching Machine Stop Quote of the Day: "But try if you can to support, whether it's AIDS or the cancer foundation, so that someone else might survive, might prosper, and might actually be cured of this dreaded disease." - Jim Valvano