One of the things the Red Sox are known for is their relationship with Dana Farber and the Jimmy Fund—prominent, Boston-based, cancer research organizations. Starting on Tuesday and into Wednesday, they hosted the 14th Annual Jimmy Fund Telethon at Fenway Park. The event raises money towards cancer research and has raised over $37 million since 2002 according to the Jimmy Fund Website.
The event is co-hosted by WEEI and NESN over 36 hours and 2 games, and it features stories from cancer patients, survivors and their families, as well as appearances from local media personalities and players, like Roger Clemens (who called in on Wednesday), and David Ortiz, who appeared live in-studio. It also spotlighted some of the things that the Jimmy Fund does to take people’s minds off the treatment, especially for the kids. One of the things that was brought up a couple of times during the broadcast was the trip for the kids down to Fort Myers to watch Spring Training.
One of the highlights for me while I was watching it was a little girl who had beaten cancer singing the song “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen” while Tom Caron encouraged her. Those are the kind of moments that make this event special and it’s clear the players get it as well. NESN showed videos throughout the broadcast of the players hanging out at the Jimmy Fund with patients.
The Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund have been partners since 1953, making it the longest such partnership in sports. The Jimmy Fund also does other neat fundraisers through the Red Sox, like a “Fenway Fantasy Day,” which allows people to play baseball at Fenway Park, which I was fortunate enough to participate in.
This event is always special, but it takes on a new meaning this year, as John Farrell was revealed to have Stage 1 Lymphoma last Friday, which makes it more important this year. At last count, the Jimmy Fund Telethon hand raised over $1.9 million and it seems on track to raise over $2 million, which would be a record. It runs until midnight on Wednesday on NESN, through the game, and it’s worth it if you go over and donate even $5.