USA Baseball Supports Throw Cancer a Curve
Throw Cancer a Curve All Skills Camp takes place on January 15 in Albuquerque, N.M.
USA Baseball is proud to support the fifth annual Throw Cancer A Curve All Skills Camp this year. The camp will be held at the Albuquerque Baseball Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Sunday, January 15 from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m.
The camp will feature current and retired professional baseball players, including USA Baseball alumni Blake Swihart and Alex Bregman.
In 2013, the camp was created to raise money for Justin Solomon, an Albuquerque native who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2011 as a sophomore in high school.
"We started five years ago. Justin was going into his junior year of high school when he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia," Albuquerque Baseball Academy Pitching Coordinator Ryan Brewer, who helps manage the camp, said. "Blake walked into my office one day and just said hey we need to do something to help. And it was kind of already on the cooker getting ready to go, but having Blake jump in and be involved really boosted it."
The event has grown every year and now includes a second camp in Farmington, New Mexico, which will be held on Saturday, January 14. That camp has also received support from AABC, a National Member Organization of USA Baseball. Both camps raise money through camp fees, donations and an auction with memorabilia signed by Swihart, Bregman and other MLB players.
All of the proceeds go to the Justin Solomon Medical Foundation, as well as the Martin Romero Scholarship Fund and the Faith Kuhn Medical Fund. In its first year, the camp raised $12,000. Last year, it raised $40,000.
"Once Blake got involved…it got the whole state excited," Brewer said. "We started by raising $12,000 the first year and each year it's gone up. New Mexico has a pretty small population and when you get the top 8-10 professional players together at one time, it's a really big deal.
"This is the second year Alex has been in it and Blake has been really helpful working with the camp and doing a lot of the stuff that needs to be done for it."
Swihart, who plays left field for the Boston Red Sox, has worked with the camp every year since it started after helping bring the event to fruition. For him, there's no better feeling than giving back to his hometown and helping people that really need it.
"These camps and causes our very important to me. It's all about helping out our community and giving back because they have supported me throughout my career," Swihart said. "My favorite part is seeing all the kids out there having fun and learning how to play baseball from professional baseball players from their community. If they take one thing home with them we have succeeded.
"I love seeing how much we impact the lives of the families we are helping. They always show up and seeing their faces when the camps are done is heart warming."
Swihart played on the 2010 18U National Team and led the team with a .448 average. Bregman is a four-time USA Baseball alum, having played on the 2010 16U National Team, the 2011 18U National Team and the 2013 and 2014 Collegiate National Teams. He also became the first high school player to win the USA Baseball Richard W. Dick Case Award, given annually to the top player in the organization, when he won in 2010 as a sophomore. Both players were first round draft picks in 2011 and 2015, respectively.
USA Baseball Chief Development Officer Rick Riccobono said USA Baseball is proud to be represented by alumni that are actively involved in supporting great causes like Throw Cancer A Curve.
"As an organization, we are honored to sponsor Throw Cancer A Curve and happy to be able to support it and the causes it raises money for," Riccobono said. "But we are also so proud that alumni like Alex and Blake are taking such active roles themselves in supporting these incredible causes and events as well."
To donate to Throw Cancer A Curve, contact Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Brewer (@aba_baseball), Swihart (@BLAKESWIHART_1) and Bregman (@ABREG_1) on Twitter for giveaways and news about the camp.