By: Lana Jefferson Taussig Issue: Sports Section: Collaborator Profile
Pitching In For Hope, On And Off The Field
He throws 95 mile-per-hour fastballs and his sliders range in speed from 85 to 87 miles per hour. Known as “Lights Out,” pitcher Brad Lidge has built his career as one of Major League Baseball’s most successful closers. In the 2008 World Series, Lidge secured the Philadelphia Phillies’ championship with the final out, a strikeout, in Game 5.
In practice sessions and on game days, Lidge works diligently to improve his game. He also makes sure to build relationships with younger players as they enter the major leagues.
“Every year, there are several new young players joining the Phillies, whether they’re called up from the minor leagues or traded from another team,” said Lidge. “Hopefully they’ll be playing baseball for a long time, but either way I try to help them toward fulfilling careers, which takes commitment on and off the field.”
Off the field, Lidge is a dedicated philanthropist. Along with his wife, Lindsay, Lidge supports several humanitarian causes, including Strikeouts for Troops, a national nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of wounded troops being treated at military hospitals nationwide; the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation, which endorses health, education, and inner-city services for children all over the United States; and the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, promoting baseball and sports nationwide while raising money for other charitable causes.
Lidge carries deep personal interests for the mission and programs of each organization that he supports, and for him, philanthropy stretches beyond monetary donations.
He regularly advocates for teammates and other players in the league to join him in supporting worthwhile causes, and he looks for opportunities to make lasting contributions.
About five years ago, Lidge’s father, Ralph, introduced him to an organization that would become a significant influence in his philanthropic efforts. Project C.U.R.E., a nonprofit humanitarian relief organization that delivers donated medical supplies and equipment to people in need in developing nations, welcomed Lidge’s interest and support and recently invited him to join the board of directors.
“After speaking with Doug, [Project C.U.R.E.’s president and CEO], Lindsay and I knew that we wanted to donate and become active participants in its programs,” mentioned Lidge, when discussing his reasons for joining the organization. “We were impressed by the reach of Project C.U.R.E. and its direct approach to make an immediate impact for people who really need help.”
Project C.U.R.E., which collects donated medical supplies and equipment from medical manufacturers and distributors, hospitals and clinics, and individuals, is the largest organization of its kind in the world. Every week, volunteers help to send out two 40-ft. containers, each filled with approximately $400,000 in medical relief. Since June 1, 2009, the organization has delivered more than $21 million in medical supplies and equipment to people in more than 30 countries.
Lidge started his relationship with Project C.U.R.E. by helping the India Projects Fund of Denver’s Catholic Foundation to deliver medical supplies and equipment to Fatima Mission Hospital in Dindigul, India. The hospital, where it is estimated 700 babies are delivered every year, had no tools to provide intensive care for those babies who were delivered prematurely. It lacked basic diagnostic equipment and supplies for expecting mothers.
With Lidge’s help, Project C.U.R.E. delivered a 40-ft. ocean cargo container to the hospital. The semi-truck sized container was packed with infant incubators, bili lights for newborn babies, anesthesia machines, surgical kits for deliveries, X-ray machines and diagnostic equipment, and supplies for examinations.
In addition to this work, Lidge continues to support Project C.U.R.E.’s efforts to deliver aid, in the form of medical supplies and equipment, to doctors and nurses and the patients under their care in developing countries all over the world. He recently pledged funds to send two containers of medical relief to Haiti following the recent earthquake.
And in the 2010 season, Lidge will devote his efforts to increasing participating in Pitching in for Hope, a program allowing MLB players to contribute varying amounts to Project C.U.R.E. for each strikeout, RBI, hit and/or homerun.
Lidge commented on the program. “I’m looking forward to involving more players in the Pitching in for Hope program, especially to benefit people in Latin American countries where many players call home. With Project C.U.R.E., each dollar stretches so far to assist people in need. It’s a 20-to-1 return.”
Whether on or off the field, Lidge makes a lasting impact – in the catcher’s mitt following an opponent’s strike or in the health and well-being of children and their families in the United States and around the world.
Lana Jefferson Taussig manages communications at Project C.U.R.E.’s international headquarters office in Centennial, Colo., and supports community outreach programs in the organization’s collection and distribution cities nationwide.