Winnipeg Goldeyes Pitcher, Mikey O’Brien, speaking with the kids.
© Chuck Duboff
Winnipeg Goldeyes pitcher Mikey O’Brien found out when he was 17 that he had Diabetes. According to Kelly Lambkin, manager of Community Engagement for Diabetes Canada, that is a very difficult age for an individual to find out they have to learn to live with Type 1 Diabetes.. Mikey was drafted by the New York Yankees and didn’t know if he’d ever get a chance to play ball again; with support from his doctors, family and team mates,Mikey learned that living with Diabetes doesn’t prevent you from participating in baseball, nor any other activity.
Kelly approached Winnipeg Goldeyes General Manager Andrew Collier about the idea of contacting Mikey; it didn’t take more than a few phone calls down to Tampa Bay, and Mikey was on board with giving back to the kids. “This is all his show…he approached his teammates about helping out and we have this great day.” Kelly couldn’t thank Andrew, Mikey and Goldeyes teammates enough; “this shows what kind of camaraderie they have on this team…so inspiring for these kids”
I wrote a blog a few weeks ago about how much our professional sports teams give back to the community; this camp, which the kids participated in on Sunday, May 7th, was an example of one player taking the initiative and giving back to the kids.
I asked Kelly what she wanted the kids, 7 to 18 years of age, to take away from this camp: “They were all, over the moon with excitement when they found out about this camp and the chance to meet the Goldeyes players; the message we want them to take out of this camp, is that just because you have Diabetes that doesn’t stop you from actively participating in baseball, sports or any physical activity.”
Mikey received tremendous support from his teammates who came out early on a Sunday morning to help him out; after some encouraging words from Mikey, each of the players introduced themselves, what position they play, where they are from and personal stories related to Diabetes. I was watching the kids and could see how deeply they were paying attention. Following the introductions, there were stations set up around the field for: hitting, sliding, throwing and fielding grounders…the kids were so excited getting out on the field with the players.
For more information about Diabetes Canada, you can contact Kelly Lambkin at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-925-6196.
In addition to helping out with the Diabetes Foundation, the Winnipeg Goldeyes Field of Dreams Foundation actively gives back to the community. “Since it’s inception in 1995, the foundation has raised nearly $2 million for children’s charities in Manitoba through a number of sources, most notably the annual Winnipeg Goldeyes Field of Dreams Foundation Golf Tournament. Other revenue generators include fan donations, the Fillmore Riley LLP Ks for Kids promotion, the TCBY Radar Pitching Booth, memorabilia auctions and the sale of 50/50 tickets at Shaw Park during home games.”