New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner will serve as the Official Ambassador of the Sixth Annual Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium, the only charitable run/walk that uses the iconic Stadium as its course. The top individual fundraiser for this year’s event, to be held on Sunday, August 3rd, will win a pair of tickets to a Yankees game this season, complete with the chance to meet Gardner before he takes the field.
The event is expected to draw thousands of participants from across the country and globe, including baseball fans, runners, cancer survivors, and supporters, all gathering in the famed Stadium. The course winds through the ballpark’s concourses and ramps, and up stairs between levels. All participants can circle the field on the warning track and see themselves on the centerfield video board. After the run/walk, scientists funded by Damon Runyon will be on hand to meet and congratulate participants.
Gardner, drafted by the Yankees in the third round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft out of the College of Charleston, has found a home in the Bronx and been welcomed with open arms by fans for his invaluable contributions. From 2008-2013 he stole 161 bases for the Yankees, including a league-leading 49 in 2011.
The speedster Gardner is putting up All-Star numbers and is currently batting .287 with 28 RBI’s, six home runs and 15 stolen bases. He is on the American League All-Star ballot with hopes to be voted by the fans to the 2014 All-Star Game in Minnesota on July 15, 2014.
“The Runyon 5K provides a great opportunity for fans to enjoy a unique Stadium experience while contributing to an important cause and a wonderful organization,” Gardner said. “I am honored to be a part of the Runyon 5K and encourage all Yankees fans to show their support and run or walk to fight cancer.”
The Runyon 5K has raised nearly $3 million for cancer research since its inception in 2009. Last year’s event raised more than $760,000 and included participants ranging in age from 5 to 77 years old and hailing from more than 35 states.
“As always, 100 percent of donations raised by participants in this event will directly support the country’s most brilliant young scientists, who are doing incredible work to find cures for all forms of cancer,” said Lorraine W. Egan, President and CEO of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. “We identify and fund the best and brightest researchers, we enable risk-taking on bold, new ideas, and we accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries into new diagnostic tools and treatments. This unique summer event allows us to have fun while funding breakthroughs.”
Registration for individuals and teams is now open at www.runyon5k.org. Participants pay a $40 entry fee from now until June 30, and $50 from July 1 to July 22 or until capacity (4,000 participants) is reached. All participants must raise at least $60 in support of cancer research.
The first heat of elite runners will launch at 9:30am, followed by heats of recreational runners and walkers throughout the day, with the last heat taking off in the early afternoon. Participants have their own online donation pages – and have been telling their stories on a new Tumblr blog – to make fundraising easy.
The Runyon 5K is the latest chapter in the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation’s long history with the Yankees. After the Foundation’s establishment in 1946, Joe DiMaggio was on its Board of Directors and Mickey Mantle was an active fundraiser. Damon Runyon himself was a New York writer who began his career as a baseball journalist, revolutionizing how the game was covered and often reporting on Yankees games.
Damon Runyon died from throat cancer in 1946. His good friend, Walter Winchell, renowned journalist and radio commentator, went on his famous radio program and appealed to “Mr. and Mrs. America” for contributions to help fight cancer. The response was overwhelming, enabling Winchell to establish the “Damon Runyon Cancer Memorial Fund” with the mission of supporting the most promising early career scientists across the nation.
Damon Runyon is also looking for enthusiastic and reliable volunteers to help out with everything from set-up and breakdown to cheering on participants as they traverse Yankee Stadium. Individuals as well as corporate, school and community groups are welcome, and a willingness to help where needed is greatly appreciated.
The 2014 Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium is presented by MetLife Foundation.
ABOUT THE DAMON RUNYON CANCER RESEARCH FOUNDATION
To accelerate breakthroughs, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation provides today’s best young scientists with funding to pursue innovative research. The Foundation has gained worldwide prominence in cancer research by identifying outstanding researchers and physician-scientists. Twelve scientists supported by the Foundation have received the Nobel Prize, seven others have received National Medals of Science, and 63 have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Since its founding in 1946, Damon Runyon has invested nearly $275 million and funded more than 3,420 young scientists. One hundred percent of all donations to the Foundation are used to support cutting-edge scientific research. Its administrative and fundraising costs are paid from its Damon Runyon Broadway Tickets and endowment. For more information, visit www.damonrunyon.org.