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John Farrell had an hour until his plane left for spring training in Florida, but the new Red Sox manager had one final duty today before heading south – saluting the organization that for six decades has teamed with his ballclub in the fight against cancer.
The Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund, which together support adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, are celebrating the 60th anniversary of their historic partnership during the upcoming baseball season. Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino and Dana-Farber President and CEO Edward J. Benz Jr., MD, kicked off the celebration today during a news conference at Dana-Farber’s Yawkey Center for Cancer Care, at which Farrell and other leadership from both organizations spoke about the importance of the Jimmy Fund-Red Sox bond.
"Coming in as a player in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, you began to quickly understand the connection between the Jimmy Fund and the Red Sox," said Farrell, a major league pitcher before joining the Red Sox as pitching coach in 2007. "Coming back as a coach and now a manager, I’ve developed more of an understanding of the depth that the Red Sox-Jimmy Fund relationship has on this city and this region."
Farrell has already visited Dana-Farber’s pediatric and adult clinics to meet with patients, something Red Sox players, coaches, and officials have done since Ted Williams made the short walk up Brookline Avenue from Fenway Park to Dana-Farber in the 1950s. Joining Farrell on today’s visit was current Boston third baseman, Will Middlebrooks, who learned about the Jimmy Fund-Red Sox relationship last year as a rookie and this year will be a Jimmy Fund Co-Captain.
The Jimmy Fund has been an official charity of the Red Sox since 1953. The partnership between the two organizations is nationally recognized as the most long-standing and successful relationship between a sports team and a charity in the history of professional sports.
"Dana-Farber is honored and so very appreciative of the 60-year commitment the Red Sox have made to the Jimmy Fund," said Benz, who accepted a $60,000 check from the Red Sox Foundation at the ceremony. "Without the Red Sox support during its early years, the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber would not be the world-class organization it is today. The importance of the Red Sox support continues to this day. On behalf of our patients and their families, we thank the Red Sox, its ownership group, and especially the generous fans of Red Sox Nation, for being united in our efforts to eradicate cancer."
The organizations will commemorate this milestone anniversary with activities and events throughout the 2013 baseball season, including:
"We are often inspired to see the number of people living normal lives after receiving heroic treatment and care at Dana-Farber," said Lucchino, who was treated at Dana-Farber for non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1985 and 1986, long before he joined the Red Sox in 2002. "One can imagine the inspiration this goodwill chorus can bring to children, to seniors, and to those receiving care throughout our region. It is a small gesture of honor to the Jimmy Fund; it’s a small way to improve people’s lives with people whose lives have been treated successfully."
Since the Red Sox adopted the Jimmy Fund as their official charity, the two organizations have established a deep bond — unlike any other between a professional sports team and a charity. The Red Sox have teamed with the Jimmy Fund to save lives, seek cures, and dramatically change the quality of life for adults and children facing cancer in New England and around the world.
During the past 60 years, many Red Sox players have demonstrated their personal commitment to the Jimmy Fund, including Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, Carl Yastrzemski, Dick Radatz, Jim Lonborg, Bob Stanley, Mo Vaughn, Trot Nixon, Tim Wakefield, Clay Buchholz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Daniel Bard, and, of course, former Jimmy Fund Chairman Mike Andrews. Whether it be visiting pediatric and adult patients or helping to raise funds for cancer care and research, the Red Sox have always been champions for the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber.
One of the more memorable examples of the organization’s generosity to the Jimmy Fund occurred in 1967, when second baseman Andrews and his fellow Red Sox players voted unanimously to give a full share of their World Series bonus to the charity. During the past 60 years the Red Sox and their fans have helped raise more than $105 million for the Jimmy Fund. The Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund have partnered on various fundraising events including the annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, Jimmy Fund/Red Sox license plates, John Hancock Fenway Fantasy Day, Rally Against Cancer, New Stars for Young Stars, and the Stop & Shop Triple Winner Program.