Siblings step up to the plate to honor late brother’s legacy

Madeline Lazzara, Ronnie’s sister, takes her turn at bat.
Madeline Lazzara, Ronnie’s sister, takes her turn at bat.

When Team Runs for Ronnie takes the field at Fenway Park on Saturday, June 27, for John Hancock Fenway Fantasy Day to benefit the Jimmy Fund, they will be thinking of their namesake—Ronald “Ronnie” Biegner, who passed away from cancer in 2011.

For eight years, Ronnie, a native New Yorker and Mets fan, participated in Fantasy Day, a cancer fundraising event that allows donors to bat and field at Boston’s historic Fenway Park. Although he had no personal connection to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Ronnie always made the day trip to Boston from his home outside New York City so that he could support the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber.

Despite being diagnosed with cancer himself at age 50, Ronnie never asked his family for sympathy. Rather, he continued to show his big heart, especially when it came to his nieces and nephews.

Ronnie’s brother George Biegner celebrates a trip around the bases.
Ronnie’s brother George Biegner celebrates a trip around the bases.

“We called him Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny because he would show up on holidays with every single gift on the kids’ lists,” recall his siblings, Madeline (Biegner) Lazzara of Valley Stream, NY, and George Biegner of Medford, NY.

Before Ronnie passed away, he asked his family to continue to support Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund. There wasn’t much debate necessary about how to honor Ronnie’s wishes and his legacy—It seemed was only fitting that the family honor his wish by participating in Fantasy Day, like Ronnie did for so many years.

Last year, the family worked together to raise more than $7,000 for the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber—enough for Madeline, George, and Madeline’s son, Andrew (Ronnie’s godson) to secure spots in Fantasy Day.

This June, team Runs for Ronnie will once again raise funds and take the field at Fenway to support the Jimmy Fund, a cause so near to Ronnie’s heart. They’ll take swings at the Green Monster and continue to have an important impact on Dana-Farber’s mission to conquer cancer.

Learn more about John Hancock Fenway Fantasy Day to benefit the Jimmy Fund

A focused Andrew Lazzara, Ronnie’s godson, swings away at Fantasy Day 2014.
A focused Andrew Lazzara, Ronnie’s godson, swings away at Fantasy Day 2014.

Kelly Packard
@KellyDFCI
Media Relations, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Share this story