Sophomore pitcher Emerson Gibbs gets his head shaved for the Vs. Cancer Foundation in 2013
Feb. 26, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - For the second straight season, the Tulane baseball program will team up with the Vs. Cancer Foundation to help fight pediatric cancer by raising funds and awareness for the 160,000 children diagnosed with cancer each year.
On Sunday, March 23 after the Green Wave play Middle Tennessee at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium, the entire Tulane team will shave their heads near their dugout alongside other Tulane student-athletes. Fans are encouraged to make a donation, as well as shave their heads with the Green Wave student-athletes.
Fans can donate inside of Greer Field at Turchin Stadium's gates up to the third inning for all home starting March 11 against Louisiana-Lafayette. After the final game of the Middle Tennessee series, Tulane student-athletes will shave their heads in support of pediatric cancer patients.
The Vs. Cancer Foundation was founded by Chase Jones, the nephew of Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones, in December 2012. Chase Jones was diagnosed with cancer when he was 18-years-old. After beating the disease that threatened his life, Jones continued his baseball career by playing for the North Carolina Tar Heels, and he even joined his uncle as the bullpen catcher for the US Collegiate National Team in 2009.
"New Orleans is basically Chase's second home, as he grew up around our program," stated Rick Jones. "As his dad, who is my brother, worked every one of our camps during six weeks in the summer and at the Christmas holidays, Chase as early as six-years-old spent that time alongside he and I here. He is extremely close to me. He dealt with stage-four brain cancer in college, and he went on to beat that. To go on and become a part of the North Carolina program and to join me on Team USA is special, but what he has done with the Vs. Cancer Foundation to assist young cancer patients like himself, it's just something that is very special to me, as well as the kids in our program and all the programs that participate all across the country."
Chase Jones travels the country, working with high school, collegiate and professional sports teams and athletes to raise money for cancer treatment through his organization. All of the money raised for the Vs. Cancer Foundation is split in half, with half of the proceeds going to national childhood cancer research, while the other half is donated to local childhood cancer hospitals and other efforts.
"I think the success of the Vs. Cancer Foundation is just a testament to the baseball family," said Chase Jones. "Once the idea of actually being able to help kids with cancer has been communicated, everyone just rallies behind it. It's great to see other programs say `well, Tulane did this, so I want my program to do it as well.' This happens all over the country, and it's special. Tulane has done this with us every year. We went from 40 schools to 60 schools, and this year we'll have 120 schools. It's cool that Tulane has been the beacon of leading this effort from day one."
This year, the Tulane Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has worked hard to raise awareness for the event, thanks in part to the two active baseball members in sophomore outfielder Richard Carthon and senior student assistant Briggs Barrios.
"We've done this during the past few years, and we are really excited about it," stated Barrios. "Last year, the money (that was raised) went to Ochsner. They made a room for kids to play in that are going through their treatments (for pediatric cancer). It's a very exciting opportunity for us."
Chase Jones believes that the room built for the pediatric cancer patients at Ochsner - where half of the money raised this year will go, once again - allows the children there to take their minds off the treatment they are receiving. However, studies show that it can mean so much more.
"We found a study that showed that if you lower the stress levels in kids with cancer, their tumors shrink," mentioned Chase Jones. "From that mindset, the fact that we are able to provide a room at Ochsner allows us to tangibly impact kids in their treatments. What we are doing has an actual measureable effect in helping kids in New Orleans beat cancer."
Tulane participated in the event last year after an extra-inning victory over High Point, which coincidentally is another team that participated in shaving their heads during a home game in 2013.
With Chase Jones' personal experiences in collegiate baseball - as well as his connections with former teammates, coaches and his uncle - many of the teams he works with are college baseball teams. However, any sports team can participate, as evidenced by his work with collegiate lacrosse teams, as well as the men's crew team at North Carolina and the soccer team at Wake Forest.
The mission statement of the Vs. Cancer Foundation is to save kids' lives by empowering athletes and communities to fund lifesaving childhood cancer efforts.
For more information on the Vs. Cancer Foundation, and how you can help Chase Jones' effort on making a difference in the lives of pediatric cancer patients, please visit www.vs-cancer.org. To make a donation to Tulane's team page for the Vs. Cancer Foundation, please visit tulane.vs-cancer.org. At that page, one can make a donation to the team as a whole, or one's donation can be credited directly to the fundraising page of any of the Green Wave baseball players' pages.
You can follow Green Wave baseball on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.