PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.- The Tampa Bay Rays visited Southwest Florida Saturday morning to take on the New York Yankees
The spring game is also home to the annual tradition, Cut for a Cure. The event, hosted by the Pediatric Cancer Foundation and Sports Clips, allows kids who’ve battled cancer to meet the players, and shave their heads.
“This has kind of been a tradition here with the Rays,” said Rays head coach Kevin Cash. “I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
It’s an event the Fisher family looks forward to every year.
“It’s priceless,” said Jessica Fisher. “Just to be able to remember the good times, even though he’s gotta go have his blood drained or have an infusion of chemo, it’s just priceless to have them behind us every step of the way.”
Fisher’s youngest son, 7-year-old Joshua, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 2 years old. He’s survived the worst part, and doctors say in a few years, he’ll be considered “cured.”
“To have the inspiration by the Rays to help him get though each of those chemo treatments… Sending a videos that says the Rays are behind us, those are all things that mean the world to us,” said Fisher.
Saturday, more than 50 players, coaches and staff helped raise money by getting their heads shaved.
“You see these kids out here putting a big smile on their face,” said Cash. “I mean how many 8 year olds or 9 year olds get to say they cut Evan Longoria’s hair? That’s pretty cool.”
“It’s just a really cool thing that we get to be a part of for a really wonderful cause,” added staffer George Pappas. “It’s just a testament of what baseball can do to get people excited.”
Saturday’s event raised more than $15,000 for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, to help children battling this disease.
Rays president and owner Stu Sternberg also participated in the cause, and hopes their relationship with their community members can also bring the team some good luck this season.
“Here, we’re all cutting our hair in unison, the team plays together and it leads to good things,” said Sternberg.
“It’s really rewarding and very moving,” added Pappas. “It’s special, these kids are fighting in some cases for their lives. Anything we can do , in the smallest gesture, I think goes a long way.”