Many have said it can’t be done but my plan is to do it.
In the spirit of the holidays – when dreams are made and shared – I’m announcing my intentions to spend next summer spreading the word about saving lives via the international bone marrow registry. Our WNST.net 30-30 Baseball #GiveASpit National Awareness Campaign in conjunction with the local charity There Goes My Hero, will attempt to travel to 30 Major League Baseball stadiums and see 30 games in 30 days in the hopes of swabbing as many people as divinely possible during the tour, which will conclude at the MLB All Star Game festivities in Cincinnati on July 13-14, 2015.
As you know, earlier this year on March 20, my wife Jennifer was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at Johns Hopkins. After a gruesome chemo battle including 56 nights in the hospital and a miraculous remission status in May, she received the greatest gift a human being can receive – a new life with a bone marrow transplant on June 26th from an anonymous 21-year old donor from Germany, who saved her life and then wrote her a three-page letter telling her why he did it. “I did this for you because I believe it is our assignment to help people when they need help the most,” he wrote in a letter Jenn received in early August.
You should stop reading this blog now and click here to read his letter.
Now that you’ve read his letter, you can better appreciate our “calling” to do this summer tour and pay his kindness forward to others.
Because I’ve lived my life in the public world of the sports media and have promoted countless charitable efforts and great causes on my local and national radio shows over the years, I want to get on the road and spread the word about the miracle of life my wife received because she had a “perfect match.” When Jenn was extremely ill in the spring, we put together our personal bucket lists of things we wanted to do when she got healthy – reasons for her to live when her diagnosis and her cancer felt the most frightening.
Jenn is now a survivor and we want to pay it forward by bringing national awareness to the power of saliva on a swab by using sports, athletes, celebrities and an old-fashioned barnstorming tour of the first love of my life – baseball and stadiums and ballgames. Seeing all 30 stadiums in 30 days is on my personal bucket list and I want to do it with a cause and put a real face on the miraculous work being done with medicine in beating cancer, leukemia and utilizing the generosity of people on the bone marrow transplant registry.
Simply put, this is what saved Jenn’s life and it’s my mission to save more lives in the coming years.
At this critical planning point of putting together the tour (which begins on June 13 in Baltimore and is highlighted below), we need all of our relationships to come together to make each city tour stop a success and the ability to swab 18-to-55 year-old, healthy folks is critical to saving lives in the future. We will work with local swabbing organizations in each city to “swab” folks for the bone marrow registry and use the hashtag and catch phrase #GiveASpit or #IGaveASpit to create conversation.
Our current plan is to get as much pre-publicity for the tour as possible and build the registry one day and one event at a time. I hope to sit with a local celebrity or athlete and “watch the game” with them in each town while we talk about sports, life, baseball and whatever folks talk about when they go to games.
I already have a few cool commitments from some old friends around the country and I’ll be announcing them as they come in for each town and game. You might want to circle Thursday, June 18 as a special date on the tour. My Philadelphia stop will include the Baltimore Orioles and WNST.net will be doing a bus trip for that game in Philly.
We’re also planning an event in the spring with Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano here in Baltimore to honor Jenn’s donor and folks everywhere who save lives for There Goes My Hero via our many business partnerships and local cancer survivors.
We expect this 30-30 #GiveASpit to be an around the clock, live-streamed, evolving conversation to be shared in social media via our growing Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and website at WNST.net.
It will be a nonstop, moving, baseball marathon and road trip across the United States in 30 days.
We will also be creating traditional radio and video content along the way. It will be a moving travelogue with some good food, cold beer, lots of highways and people and interviews with folks and fans we meet on the road along with a litany of celebrities who’ve joined my radio show at some point over the past 23 years since I started my radio career in 1991.
I’m guessing I’ll be doing some of the best radio of my life and having the time of my life. Seeing old friends along the way is going to be the best part.
I love baseball. I love traveling around America. I love the friends I’ve made along the way. In 2006, I wrote a 19-chapter book about my love of baseball. You can find the links here.
So, this is definitely a “bucket list” trip for me.
I’ll have more details as our sponsors, angels and partners evolve. But I’ll be working on this every day for the next six months to ensure that we can swab as many people at divinely possible along the way and make the tour as effective as it can be.
Thanks for all of the support and #JennStrong love we’ve felt on our journey. It hasn’t been easy. But it’s been rewarding, redemptive and inspiring for me.
I’m doing the best radio of my career. I’m having fun. We’re having a wonderful holiday season with family and friends.
And I’m planning to do this 30-30 #GiveASpit tour this summer to honor my Pop, my wife and people everywhere who save lives and inspire me.
I’m also going to have fun doing it. And we’ll save lives. And that’ll be cool.
There are significant links below with videos and more information about Jenn’s battle and our mission. The 30-day MLB stadium tour is also listed.
Thanks for your friendship over the years and for your generosity and time in making this tour even better and more significant.
Here are some key links to see Jenn’s story and learn about her battle:
To see a video from beginning of her diagnosis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9osOYm7TxU
To see a video of Jenn’s first 100 days of battling leukemia, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p0W6Je0L2Y
To see the incredible letter from her German donor, click here: http://wnst.net/wnst/jennstrong-receives-the-greatest-life-and-love-letter-ever-written-from-germany/
To see her recent speech for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qa97BBgkTc
You can also google #JennStrong and read all about her illness and miraculous recovery: http://wnst.net/wnst/so-my-beautiful-wife-jenn-was-diagnosed-with-leukemia-last-week/
2015 WNST.net Baseball #GiveASpit Tour Itinerary:
Sat. June 13 – Baltimore (vs. Yankees) TBA 248 miles
Sun. June 14 – Pittsburgh (vs. Phillies) 1:35 371 miles
Mon. June 15 – N.Y. Mets (vs. Blue Jays) 7:10 214 miles
Tue. June 16 – Boston (vs. Braves) 4:05 214 miles
Wed. June 17 – N.Y. Yankees (vs. Marlins) 7:05 94 miles
Thu. June 18 – Philadelphia (vs. Orioles) 1:05 139 miles
Fri. June 19 – Washington (vs. Pirates) TBA 501 miles
Sat. June 20 – Cincinnati (vs. Marlins) TBA 461 miles
Sun. June 21 – Atlanta (vs. Mets) 5:10 456 miles
Mon. June 22 – Tampa Bay (vs. Blue Jays) 7:10 277 miles
Tue. June 23 – Miami (vs. Cardinals) 7:10 1103 miles
Wed. June 24 – Texas (vs. Athletics) TBA 239 miles
Thu. June 25 – Houston (vs. Yankees) TBA 779 miles
Fri. June 26 – St. Louis (vs. Cubs) 8:15 373 miles
Sat. June 27 – Milwaukee (vs. Twins) TBA 375 miles
Sun. June 28 – Detroit (vs. White Sox) 1:05 231 miles
Mon. June 29 – Toronto (vs. Red Sox) 7:05 2,580 miles
Tue. June 30 – San Diego (vs. Mariners) TBA 96 miles
Wed. July 1 – Anaheim (vs. Yankees) TBA 355 miles
Thu. July 2 – Arizona (vs. Rockies) 7:40 1,063 miles
Fri. July 3 – Kansas City (vs. Twins) TBA 1,625 miles
Sat. July 4 – L.A. Dodgers (vs. Mets) TBA 371 miles
Sun. July 5 – Oakland (vs. Mariners) TBA 802 miles
Mon. July 6 – Seattle (vs. Tigers) 7:10 802 miles
Tue. July 7 – San Francisco (vs. Mets), TBA 1,264 miles
Wed. July 8 – Colorado (vs. Angels), TBA 1,008 miles
Thu. July 9 – Chicago White Sox (vs. Blue Jays) TBA 414 miles
Fri. July 10 – Minnesota (vs. Tigers) 7:10 414 miles
Sat. July 11 – Chicago Cubs (vs. White Sox) TBA 345 miles
Sun. July 12 – Cleveland (Athletics) TBA 249 miles
Mon. July 13 – CINCINNATI ALL-STAR HR DERBY & GAME FESTIVITIES
Tue. July 14 – CINCINNATI MLB ALL-STAR GAME