Results tagged ‘ Kyle’s Kamp ’

#NatsWeekOfThanks: Kyle’s Kamp

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Bryce Harper, center, visiting with Gavin Rupp, right, and his family in the Nationals dugout.

Bryce Harper, center, visiting with Gavin Rupp, right, and his family in the Nationals dugout.

In 2010, the Hahne Family received news that changed their lives forever. Only six years old, Kyle Hahne was diagnosed with leukemia. What started as a website to update friends and family about Kyle’s hospital trips, Kyle’s Kamp soon became a way to raise money to support Children’s National Medical Center for pediatric cancer research.

As Kyle was an avid baseball fan, one fundraising effort is a series of baseball tournaments. Through a partnership with the Washington Nationals, some of these games are played on the field at Nationals Park.

Gavin Rupp threw out the first pitch at Nationals Park.

Gavin Rupp threw out the first pitch at Nationals Park.

It was at those games that we were first introduced to a remarkable young man named Gavin Rupp and his family.

Having gone through countless radiation treatments and two surgeries to remove a tumor from his brain, Gavin wanted to continue to play baseball. One month later, another tumor was detected, this time in the center of Gavin’s brain. Surgery was too risky, and the 13 year old became a hospice patient. He and his family tried to make the most of the time he had left.

While we wish it were under different circumstances, the Washington Nationals are thankful to Kyle’s father Rob for introducing us to Gavin. We invited Gavin to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before a game last July and to meet his favorite player, Bryce Harper.

Upon their meeting, Gavin and Bryce quickly became friends, forming a lasting bond that provided a special moment for the Rupp family. Our thoughts continue to go out to the Rupp family, as we were all saddened by Gavin’s passing.

We are thanking Kyle’s Kamp as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information, please visit www.kyleskamp.org and follow on Twitter at @KylesKamp.

To learn more about Gavin, and the Rupp family’s efforts to help eradicate pediatric cancer, visit www.ipromise15.org and follow on Twitter at @iPromise15

Krol, Rendon Host PLAY Clinic

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On Tuesday, Nationals trainers and players hosted the PLAY Clinic, in partnership with the Taylor Hooton Foundation and MLB Charities. PLAY, which stands for Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth, is a public awareness campaign founded in 2004 by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society to promote a healthy lifestyle and encourage daily activity among youth.

Rendon pitches during the Home Run Derby.

Rendon pitches during the Home Run Derby.

“Childhood obesity was rising in the early 2000s and they were directly tying Type II diabetes to inactivity with kids,” said PLAY campaign coordinator Zachary Reed, who hopes this clinic will encourage kids to be active for at least 60 minutes each day. “From the year 2000 to the year 2004, it had spiked. About 25% of kids were obese, so the campaign was founded to get kids out for some more activity.”

More than 60 children from Kyle’s Kamp and Ward 7 in Washington, D.C., were on hand at Nationals Park to learn about various topics including healthy eating, injury prevention and strength and conditioning, while also improving their baseball skills.

Brian Parker of the Taylor Hooton Foundation kicked off the clinic with a chalk talk about the dangers of steroid abuse. Head trainer Lee Kuntz then demonstrated proper stretching techniques in the Nationals bullpen to warm up the kids for the day’s activities. Second baseman Anthony Rendon and pitcher Ian Krol also stopped by to share their daily routines with the children, from agility drills to the importance of staying hydrated.

“It’s great that the kids are able to meet the players and see a little bit of what we do throughout the day. We hope to instill those [lessons] and get kids back into baseball,” said Kuntz.

Children were also taught how to stay properly hydrated in the heat.

Children were also taught how to stay properly hydrated in the heat.

“They realized how important it is to get outside and be active,” said Krol. “In this day and age, you see all the kids with electronics like iPads and they don’t get to experience great things like sports and other activities.”

One of those fun activities was their own Home Run Derby, the “grand finale and the fireworks” of the PLAY clinic, as Kuntz described it. For many kids, including the Kelley brothers – Jaden, 8, and Cristopher, 9 – the derby was their favorite part of the day.

It is now their charge to incorporate the invaluable lessons they learned in their everyday lives. “Stay healthy, drink water and eat vegetables,” was Jaden’s key takeaway from speaking with Rendon and Krol.

With the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy expected to open later this fall for youth in Wards 7 and 8, many of these PLAY clinic participants will have the opportunity to continue to learn and practice the fundamentals of baseball and softball while also taking part in health and educational programs.

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Kyle’s Kamp

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The Nationals may be on the road for Memorial Day Weekend, but baseball is still being played at Nationals Park this weekend. While the big league club battles it out for National League East supremacy in Atlanta, the players here in D.C. are fighting for a much larger cause.

On Friday, the club hosts the opening ceremony for the Washington Nationals Memorial Day Wood Bat Tournament in partnership with Kyle’s Kamp and Children’s National Medical Center. The man behind putting this all together is Rob Hahne, the father of Kyle Hahne, an avid baseball fan who, at the age of six in late 2010, was diagnosed with Leukemia.

The first games of the tournament got underway Friday afternoon.

Rob did what we can all only hope to do when confronted with a life-altering situation, and decided to try to make the best of it by using the game of baseball to raise awareness and money for other children suffering through the same types of afflictions as his son. His crusade began with a tournament last year around Memorial Day, for which the players were able to raise a total of about $12,000.

While some might consider that quite an accomplishment, Hahne knew he could do better. He looked at the big picture, and saw no bigger opportunity when it came to baseball in Washington D.C. than working with the Nationals.

“We had a lot of doubters at our first meeting when I said, ‘we want to approach the Nationals and we want to raise $250,000,’” explained Hahne. “We had a lot of blank stares.”

Not to be deterred, Hahne reached out and made contact with the club. The Nationals jumped at the opportunity to support Hahne in his cause, donating use of the Major League field and ballpark for the tournament.

“This was an easy decision for us because of our great relationship with both Children’s National Medical Center and the youth baseball community,” said Israel Negron, Nationals Senior Director of Community Relations. “This is exactly the type of community event we envisioned hosting when we built Nationals Park. We are thrilled that the ballpark could help boost their fundraising efforts.”

Rob Hahne named his foundation after his son, Kyle (right).

Boost they did. The end result is a tournament with ceremonies that will include over 3,000 players, ages eight through adult, from nearly 200 Mid-Atlantic region teams. Remember that outlandish goal of $250,000 that Hahne proposed last October?

“We are up to over $400,000,” he said, proudly. “That doesn’t even include what we will raise this weekend. We’re hoping to double our (original) goal, and hit $500,000.”

As a reward for their hard work and amazing charitable efforts, the six teams that raised the most funds will play against one another at Nationals Park leading up to the ceremony. The rest of the tournament will take place around the Washington metropolitan area throughout the holiday weekend.

The numbers are great, but what’s really important is where the money goes. The funds raised will benefit the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s National Medical Center, helping other children like Kyle. For Hahne and his wife, that’s the best way they can help fight for their son.

“It offers us peace and support seeing all the people coming together, the community coming together on the behalf of families like ours,” he said. “We see a lot of families who can’t afford the type of things we can afford, and we want to make sure they get the same treatment.”

Click here for more information about this weekend’s tournament and how you can be a part of Kyle’s Kamp.

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