Last spring, we teamed up with our good friend Chase Jones, who had organized a campaign called BaseBald through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The goal was to showcase the incredible efforts of athletes to raise awareness and funding for childhood cancer research. It was a huge success! So naturally, when Chase approached us about doing work for his new foundation, Vs. Cancer, we were eager to get started.
The picture above is of me (Alyson) and Chase after one heck of a roadtrip. We’ll talk about that in just a second. Let me first introduce you to Chase. You’ll be seeing a lot of him and his foundation on this blog!
Chase is one of the most incredible people I have ever met. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer as a freshman in college. Not only did he beat cancer, he did so while attending UNC Chapel Hill and playing on their nationally ranked baseball team. Yeah, he’s one tough guy! When his teammates rallied around him and held their first head shaving event, Chase got an idea. What if he got athletes everywhere to shave their heads while helping to fund childhood cancer research? Chase has made this his life’s work, founding the Vs. Cancer Foundation last year. The foundation has already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for childhood cancer hospitals as well as research. Oh and did I mention that he is only 25?! Talk about inspiring! But what I love most about Chase is how genuine he is. You can’t help being overcome with emotion when you watch him interact with young cancer patients, their families and the athletes. It’s easy to see that the work he is doing is touching so many lives! That is why we were so eager to be a part of the incredible foundation he has created.
Not too long ago, Chase and I had lunch to discuss what his foundation would need, which events were key to cover, etc. The amount of schools participating in Vs. Cancer events this spring was overwhelming. So I pitched the idea of a road trip in April: one weekend; 3 colleges; Raleigh, N.C. to Allentown, Pa. Little did I know how epic of a weekend it would be.
We began our trip with a Friday night drive up to Philly. By Saturday morning, we were ready to tackle the day. Our first college stop was to see the Temple University baseball team. The Temple Owls were playing an afternoon game against La Salle at home, and had planned their game around their Vs. Cancer event. When we pulled up, their P.A. announcer was rattling off childhood cancer stats and asking the crowd to participate in the baseball team’s efforts in the fight against childhood cancer. The team ended up surpassing it’s $2,500 goal by raising over $4,000. It was an incredible start to the weekend!
Our next stop was to Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. The Mules were facing McDaniel in a double header that day. Even though Muhlenberg lost both games, the players were in good spirits and excited to shave their heads. In reality, they were already big winners that day, having raised close to $9,000 for Vs. Cancer and their local Children’s hospital. In fact, the team almost doubled their original goal to raise $5,000. It was great to hang out with them and share in their excitement that evening!
Our wake up call the next morning came very early. By 6 a.m., we were on the road back down to North Carolina. The goal was to get to NC State for as much of their game against Virginia Tech as possible. That meant breakfast and lunch on the road heading directly to NC State’s field.
The NC State event was the largest of the weekend thanks to a partnership with the V Foundation. Each player wore a special commemorative jersey that was auctioned off before the game. Miss Raleigh was even in attendance to help shave some heads. By the end of the afternoon, the Wolfpack had raised $15,000 for Vs. Cancer and the V Foundation.
I took over 1,000 photos and 45 minutes of video footage. Somehow, I managed to narrow it down to a handful of photos that I wanted to add to the blog. Let me tell you, it was hard! There was one photo, however, that I really loved above and beyond the rest. It came courtesy of NC State pitcher Carlos Rodon. A young cancer patient was given the chance to help shave Carlos’ head. It was such a wonderful moment that really captured what it is Vs. Cancer is working to accomplish.
Oh, what a weekend! We drove 1,100-plus miles in 48 hours and visited with three incredible programs who have each stepped up to make a difference in the lives of kids battling cancer. Together, those teams raised over $25,000 for Vs. Cancer. How amazing is that? As exhausting as that weekend was, so much was accomplished. I am so grateful to have the chance to work with Chase and to know that what we are doing is directly impact the lives of children who are fighting this terrible battle.
If you have questions about Vs. Cancer or are interested in participating in a Vs. Cancer event, please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Chase Jones (email@example.com).