12/16/2010 9:09 AM ET
A Run Like No Other: Fenway Park's famed home plate is finish line for "2011 Run to Home Base Presented by New Balance" on Sunday, May 22, 2011
2nd Annual Run benefits Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat stress and traumatic brain injuries, and their families
Millions of Red Sox fans dream of crossing home base at Fenway Park with a crowd cheering them on. Thousands of fans who participate in the annual "Run to Home Base Presented by New Balance", now in its second year, will again be able to experience that thrill while raising funds to support clinical treatment for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat stress and traumatic brain injuries, and their families.
Today, veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan joined WEEI Radio, Red Sox, Massachusetts General Hospital and New Balance officials in announcing the 2011 Run to Home Base will occur on Sunday May 22nd on the weekend the Red Sox play the Chicago Cubs at Fenway. The formal announcement occurred live on the simulcast of the Dennis and Callahan morning show on WEEI and NESN.
"The Run to Home Base is a great opportunity for fans to show their support for the many heroic servicemen and women and their families who have sacrificed and served all of us," said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner "It's also a unique 'fun run' ending with the rare experience of running through Fenway Park and finishing the race by crossing home plate at the oldest and smallest ball park in the Major Leagues."
Registration and event information for the 2011 Run to Home Base is available at www.runtohomebase.org. All donations made in support of runners in this charitable fundraising race are tax deductible and will be directed to the Home Base Program. Donations via check can be sent to the Red Sox Foundation/Home Base Program, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston MA 02215.
Participation in the 2011 run is limited to 2,500 runners so early registration is encouraged. The number of participants is limited due to race logistics and consideration of the condition of the ballfield. Participants must be 16 years of age or older, and must raise a minimum of $1,000 for the Home Base Program. Last year's inaugural Run to Home Base drew just over 2,000 runners and raised more than $2.5 million.
The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program is a philanthropic partnership between the award-winning official team charity of the Boston Red Sox and one of the nation's most renowned teaching hospitals. The program provides clinical evaluations and treatment to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) - two increasingly common and often debilitating wounds of the war on terror as well as support services to their families.
"With the success of the inaugural run last year, we have been able to enhance and expand the services we provide to veterans and their families," says Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of Massachusetts General Hospital. "We look forward to the second year of this wonderful event, which brings together supporters of the Red Sox Foundation, Mass General, veterans and our community at large."
For the second year in a row, the presenting sponsor of the Run is global athletic shoe and apparel company New Balance.
"New Balance is thrilled to return as presenting sponsor of the 2011 Run to Home Base in partnership with the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital," says New Balance President and CEO Rob DeMartini. "As a Boston-based company and an official military apparel and footwear provider, we are proud to support this unique event combining running, fund-raising and iconic Fenway Park, to help improve the lives of New England servicemen and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan."
WEEI, flagship station for Boston Red Sox radio broadcasts, and its sister stations within the Entercom Radio Group are the Run's official radio partner, while NESN, the team's television network is the Run's TV partner. WEEI morning show co-host Gerry Callahan is captaining a team of runners, and today invited fans to join Team Callahan by registering online at www.runtohomebase.org.
"This is a terrific event that supports some amazing people, and I'm excited to take part," Callahan said "I followed the run last year and am looking forward to participating fully this year."
During the race date announcement, military members presented Callahan with a Run jersey.
According to US Army Special Forces Sgt Eric Emond, who serve 5 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan before being seriously injured last year in an attack by insurgents in Afghanistan, the mission of the Run extends beyond the much needed fundraising.
"There are a lot of service men and women who are struggling with their injuries who need to know there is a team behind them when they get home," Emond said. "The Run to Home Base is a way to not only say thanks, but step up to the plate to serve those who have served all of us. As a community, we are all strengthened when we share both the benefits and the burdens required in serving our nation."
Friends and family members of participants in the Run are invited to Fenway Park on race morning to cheer from the stands and watch the runners cross home plate. Other activities will include a Family Fun Zone and a Military Appreciation Zone, located in the Fenway Park concourse areas, where supporters of all ages are encouraged to send care packages to military members on duty abroad.
Thousands of servicemen and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have combat stress and traumatic brain injuries. These wounds are complex, highly individualized and often difficult to recognize. Family members of veterans with these injuries often need guidance as they seek ways to better support their loved veteran. In New England, an estimated 50,000 veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are affected and the numbers keep rising as more deployments occur.
"In New England alone, thousands of veterans who need and deserve our care avoid treatment because of perceived stigma with seeking care," said John A. Parrish, MD, director of the Home Base Program, who served as a Navy medical officer embedded with the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. "The Run to Home Base will not only raise funds for our program, but awareness of these conditions and the ways we can all help."
Fundraising prizes will be given to run participants in several categories. Interested corporate sponsors can please contact Gena Borson at the Red Sox Foundation at 617-226- 6614 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tracy West at Massachusetts General Hospital at 617-643-6789 or email email@example.com. Course and race consulting for the 2011 Run to Home Base is provided by DMSE, Inc, while the fundraising website design and operations is provided by Forte Interactive, Inc.
About the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program
The Home Base Program is a philanthropic partnership between the Red Sox Foundation, the award winning team charity of the Boston Red Sox, and Massachusetts General Hospital. The mission of this charitable effort is to improve the lives of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq with deployment-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI), and their families. The Home Base Program provides evaluations and clinical care and outreach to veterans, family support services, community education and research. For information about the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, please visit www.homebaseprogram.org.
For more information about the Red Sox Foundation, which recently won Major League Baseball first-ever Commissioner's Award for Philanthropic Excellence, please visit www.redsoxfoundation.org. To learn more about Massachusetts General Hospital, please visit www.massgeneral.org.