BoyzABC HR DERBY
What: Marin County home run derby, featuring eight MCAL teams comprised of five sluggers
When: 1-4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Tam High
The cause: Proceeds will be donated to breast cancer research at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion
When they were seventh-graders at Mill Valley Middle School, David Fineman and Ryan Hemmeter discussed various options for community service endeavors.
The buddies, who were looking to “make a difference,” leaned toward volunteering with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Their mission changed, however, after Fineman’s mother, Lori, was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2013.
“It was really hard to see her go through that process,” Fineman said. “The sight of her being so ill and not being able to take care of other people, which is her top quality, was tough. She couldn’t get out of bed. It was hard to see.”
As David, Lori, Hemmeter and Hemmeter’s mother, Molly — who frequently dropped off food at the Fineman’s home while Lori was sick — hiked a Tennessee Valley trail, a nonprofit was born. The group, along with David’s father and Lori’s husband of 18 years, Jeff, conceptualized the idea for Boyz Against Breast Cancer, which was co-founded by the two teenagers.
The nonprofit’s first event was March Madness Makes a Difference, a free-throw contest amongst David’s and Ryan’s circle of peers. Participants relied on family and friends for sponsorship, raising a certain dollar amount per basket. The following year, the event expanded to all Mill Valley Middle School students.
Two years ago, BoyzABC hosted its first home run derby, with half of the proceeds benefiting the Tam High baseball team — for which David plays shortstop — and the other half going toward breast cancer research at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, where Lori was treated and declared cancer-free five years ago.
“Once we had the time and ability to sit down as a group, with my mom there, fully energized, ready to delve into this, we just went for it,” said David Fineman, an Oberlin College baseball commit.
A few months ago, Jeff spoke with Marin Catholic baseball coach Jesse Foppert, a former big-league pitcher, and the derby came up. Foppert said he would love to participate and help the cause, but not if it meant helping an MCAL rival.
So, on Saturday, one day before Mother’s Day, after the third annual Mill Valley-based derby — which includes different age groups, softball and JV teams and more, and runs from 9 a.m. to noon at Tam — BoyzABC hosts its inaugural Marin County home run derby — 1-4 p.m. — featuring eight MCAL teams, with all proceeds donated to breast cancer research.Advertisement
Each squad is comprised of five sluggers — no more than two coaches per team — who all found sponsors from family, friends and local businesses to donate per dinger.
As he has every year, KNBR-AM host and Tam graduate Brian Murphy will emcee the event, which begins with heartstring-tugging opening ceremonies and a couple of emotional ceremonial first pitches, typically thrown by families who lost a loved one to breast cancer.
“Unfortunately, I’m sure every MCAL team knows someone directly or indirectly who has been affected by (breast cancer),” said Jeff Fineman, a pediatrician. “It’s turning a very scary thing — that’s still scary — into a real positive for our family and the community. It’s a really nice community-based effort.”
According to breastcancer.org, about one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer, and about 40,920 are expected to die from the disease in 2018. Death rates among US women are higher for breast cancer than any cancer sans lung.
“The best way to fight this disease, which affects so many of us, is through research,” said Lori Fineman, a pediatric ICU nurse. “It felt like it was something that would impact the community that I live in. Obviously I’m really proud of everyone for taking this work on.
“It’s not just about me and it’s not just about the Boyz Against Breast Cancer; it’s really a community effort. We couldn’t do it without the community’s support. The people who come and help out and share their stories are so brave. We’re really just hoping to protect more young women.”
For those unable to attend, donations can be made online at boyzabc.org and can be applied toward sponsorship of an individual or be sent directly to UCSF. BoyzABC has raised nearly $75,000 since 2013, Jeff Fineman said.
While some uncertainty remains about the state of BoyzABC next year — with David at Oberlin and Ryan at Cornell — the nonprofit is in good hands. Jeff and Lori will assume a larger role, and David and Ryan have trained younger students, who will lead the charge.
“We raised $6,000 in our first year, doubled it the next year and kept going after that,” said Hemmeter, a standout basketball player at Tam. “It’s definitely exceeded my expectations.”
David, who plans to study pre-med, said he will try to integrate BoyzABC into his college experience, perhaps putting on a free-throw contest or a home run derby at Oberlin.
“He’s a great student, a great athlete and a very sensitive kid,” Jeff Fineman said of David, whose older siblings, Richard and Melissa — both of whom swam for Tam — attend college on the East Coast. “At the time he started this, we were just so involved with the treatment and the therapy. She was in the hospital for nine months with complications, so we didn’t have a chance to take pause and think about how cool what he was doing was.
“It’s been therapy for him. We’re very proud of all his efforts. He’s got so much buy-in and involvement and we want to continue it. He’s learned a lot of life lessons that will carry him through.”
Source : http://www.marinij.com/article/NO/20180510/SPORTS/180519976