Fans Stand Up To Cancer during Classic
Fans unite at All-Star Game to support worthy cause
PHOENIX -- Jesus Garcia lost his wife Lupita to cervical cancer in 1995. On Tuesday night at Chase Field, he walked through the gates and received a placard along with everyone else. It read: "I STAND FOR ________"
Garcia wrote Lupita's name on it. Then after the sixth inning, he and a capacity crowd attending the 82nd All-Star Game all stood united in the quest to cure cancer in our lifetimes. He raised up the sign and told the world about her, and Major League Baseball and its fans made a major statement for Stand Up To Cancer.
"She was a great mom. We were married 15 years," said Garcia, 51, standing along the third-base line during batting practice. "For me, this is to memorialize my wife and also to make everyone aware that cancer affects everyone. If you think it is not going to affect you, it probably will in some way, shape or form.
"I didn't know about this, but I thought it was a wonderful thing for cancer awareness to be put on this stage."
When the placards were handed out at the gates before the game, one fan told a Stand Up To Cancer volunteer that "I'd like to get 20 of these if you don't mind? I have too many names of people to write down." There were stories of fans who wrote names like "Harmon Killebrew" on their placards, tributes to those who meant so much in their lifetimes.
This was exactly how Laura Ziskin would have done it. Ziskin, one of the co-founders of Stand Up To Cancer and producer of major motion pictures, died last month at the age of 61 -- seven years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She was the creative force behind the unprecedented live TV commercials created during the 2009 and '10 World Series, when sellout crowds at a major FOX-televised event stood up for one cause.
"This special moment within the game honored one of our co-founders, Laura Ziskin," SU2C co-founder Sue Schwartz said.
"All-Star Week for us is really exciting in being able to reach people. Major League Baseball was our founding donor and they continue to be enormously supportive of us. For this All-Star Week, we have had a number of other things that are going on."
Ziskin was the "impatient patient," and Stand Up To Cancer was created with that mindset. It is about collaborative action to speed up the research process to find a cure.
Stand Up To Cancer has attracted donors of every type to its movement, with MLB an initial and ongoing sponsor. Largely in connection with two televised specials, $180 million has been pledged to support groundbreaking "translational" cancer research designed to move developments from the laboratory phase to new treatments that will benefit people battling cancer in record time. Currently, 355 scientists from 55 institutions collaborate, interact and share information through Stand Up to Cancer.
The All-Star Game was a continuation of an effort to put Stand Up To Cancer prominently in the public eye. In each of the last two World Series, one game has been dedicated to SU2C. In addition, MLB and its clubs join forces with the group to work together year-round.
Here are other examples of how MLB and Stand Up To Cancer worked together at All-Star Week:
Lance Berkman, Miguel Cabrera and Josh Hamilton joined author Julie Loria at Monday's book signing at FanFest, with all sales that day of Loria's "Diamond Dishes: From the Kitchens of Baseball's Biggest Stars" book going to Stand Up To Cancer.
Loria, the wife of Marlins owner Jeff Loria, interviewed 20 of today's MLB stars who opened up their home kitchens and offered recipes and talked baseball. Those three 2011 All-Stars are among the 20 who participated.
"Anytime you can raise money for a worthy organization, and certainly Stand Up To Cancer is that, it's a great thing," Berkman said.
Through MLB and MasterCard, a number of SU2C's doctors, scientists and cancer survivors were attending the All-Star fantasy camp. "We're all about creating dream teams of doctors, and this gives us an opportunity to have our actual doctors play ball along with some survivors and participate in that terrific experience," Schwartz said.
One of those All-Star Cacti on Parade, situated throughout the Greater Phoenix area, will be auctioned off by MLB to benefit Stand Up To Cancer.
Baseball fans wanting to get involved also can go to MLB.com Stand Up Stadiums and dedicate a virtual piece of their favorite MLB ballpark in honor of a loved one. Fans can claim a space for as little as $5, and all proceeds go to SU2C.