Cancer. It doesn’t care whether you’re male or female, rich or poor, young or old. Its effects are widespread, and hope remains that a cure will be found. Together, the Trenton Thunder and Vs. Cancer are helping fund lifesaving childhood cancer efforts. We spoke with both Vince Marcucci, the Thunder Director of Community Affairs and Brant Masters, Vs. Cancer’s Associate Campaign Manager, about their plans to raise support in 2017.
Marcucci’s involvement with Vs. Cancer dates back to 2013, while he was working as an assistant for the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
“That was the first time that I spoke with Chase Jones, the founder (of Vs. Cancer). We did an event that season. It was the first year that they got into the minor leagues. We raised $20k with the Blue Rocks,” Marcucci said.
All proceeds from Vs. Cancer events are divided up based on their Half and Half model. Half of all the proceeds are given to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. The other half goes to local childhood cancer hospitals.
“The $10k that went to the AI duPont Hospital, actually funded that year’s prom for all the kids that were in high school battling cancer. All the kids that couldn’t go to their prom got to go to one at the hospital. It was an amazing thing to see,” said Marcucci.
After finishing college two seasons ago, Marcucci joined the Thunder and got involved with Vs. Cancer again.
“Last year, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia received the funds. Vs. Cancer doesn’t just put it into research. When it goes to a local hospital, they buy everything from Xboxes and PlayStations to new toys and coloring books.
It’s a month, year, [or] lifetime battle for some people when it’s inoperable. You have to spend time in a hospital for a long extended period. It’s really something that impacts a lot of people,” Marcucci said.
Last year’s campaign was very successful in helping Vs. Cancer impact the lives of children who were in the CHOP. The battle that each child fights is courageous and it’s important they are still able to feel like kids.
“We have one statistic we truly care about when giving to the hospital. That is how many lives will we be able to impact with the programs we are giving to- because of Trenton; we are excited to say we were able to impact around 200 kids in 2016. The best part is, it was programmed to help the kids in (CHOP) feel like kids again. I say that because the programs we funded provided tickets for a Phillies game, Painting Night, a Grammy Awards Party at Shake Shack, Movie Night, and Adventure trips. These programs are so important because patients have the chance to meet and engage outside the hospital walls. Being able to have the funding from the Thunder is the reason these gatherings outside the community happen.”
The partnership with the Thunder has gone well beyond fundraising for Vs. Cancer. In fact, they’ve opened doors for many other opportunities to spread the message.
“They’ve become a poster child for Vs. Cancer. Vince and the rest of the Trenton staff have gone above and beyond to spread our message. They have put us on the map in New Jersey by getting the community involved. Now we have the chance to work with more teams and interact with more people than ever before. We couldn’t be more excited to see the way we will grow this year, thanks to the Trenton Thunder,” said Masters.
On the field, it takes a complete team effort to achieve winning results. Off the field, it’s no different, as the entire Thunder organization focuses their energy on helping the cause.
“We love it. It’s something that everyone gets excited about. It’s one of those things that everyone rallies behind,” Marcucci said.
Efforts by Marcucci and the Thunder have been instrumental in Vs. Cancer’s approach as well supporting their mission to help kids.
“Our ultimate mission is to help kids feel like kids again and that is just what Trenton has done. They helped change the way we approach minor league teams to get involved by making it about the community more than an actual night at the ballpark.
Not only have they helped our efforts with Minor League Baseball but in youth baseball. We couldn’t be more thankful to have a team like the Thunder in the middle preparing for a busy season take the time to get people involved in a cause like ours. It shows how incredible of an organization Trenton really is,” Masters said.
The Trenton Thunder have set a $20k goal for their Vs Cancer fundraising campaign. Want to help? You can step up to the plate by donating here and by visiting Arm & Hammer Park on August 22nd, for the Vs. Cancer events.
*Photo and video credit belong to the Trenton Thunder.