“I always say that the Jimmy Fund has been like a life boat to us during the most horrific storm of our lives,” said Jenna Roxo, mother of 10-year-old Abby, a patient in Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic, who loves softball, cooking, and making people laugh. “With the support of an amazing team, we know we are safely being guided back to shore.”
Abby was diagnosed with a low-grade glioma brain tumor in her 3rd ventricle in February of 2016, so for families like the Roxos, raising awareness and funds to support cancer research and care is extremely important. “If we can help raise awareness and money in some small way, we are happy to do so,” explained Jenna. This year, as the Designated Hitter for Jimmy Fund Little League, Abby is proud to do exactly that. As Jenna tells it, “When Abby was first asked to be part of such a worthy cause she literally grinned from ear to ear and said ‘Does this mean I officially work for the Jimmy Fund?’”
Jimmy Fund Little League presented by Extra Innings and Franklin Sports continues to engage boys and girls participating in America’s favorite pastime. The program offers kids an extended season of fun through organized tournaments and teaches them the importance of philanthropy. While scoring runs on the field, these young players strike out cancer off the field as they take part in cancer fundraising activities like canister collections and lemonade stands.
Back in 1987, Massachusetts Little League District Administrator George Berardi and former Boston Red Sox players Rico Petrocelli and Mike Andrews were inspired to create a program that would allow local kids to extend their baseball and softball seasons while raising critical funds for Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund. Nearly $5 million raised and 31 seasons later, the idea lives on as Jimmy Fund Little League.
For patients like Abby, the true gift is getting on the field. “Abby has been part of some awesome softball teams over the last few years and especially loved being on the pitcher’s mound,” said Jenna. Although Abby is taking a break from playing this season to rebuild her stamina, she looks forward to being back on the field next season, along with her fellow Little Leaguers.
Account Manager/Writer, Development Communications