Donate, Enjoy the Game April 23
By Deb Silverthorn
Dallas’ youth are stepping up to bat to support Leukemia Texas and its efforts to ease circumstances for those treading the disease’s path. The first pitch of Leukemia Texas’ 2023 Strikeout Pediatric Leukemia charity baseball game will be thrown at 7:05 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, at the RoughRiders Frisco Park. Each $25 ticket allows for entrance to the RoughRiders and Arkansas Travelers baseball game, the donation of a Buddy Bear and support to leukemia patients in Texas.
“I’ve always learned about, and participated in, doing mitzvahs and it’s great that, in this one, I’ve brought together a meaningful cause, my friends — and some of their friends — and the sport we all have in common and are dedicated to,” said Jordan Seinera, the event’s founder. A 16-year-old sophomore at Hebron High School, he is a member of BBYO’s Rubin Kaplan chapter and with his family, belongs to Temple Emanu-El.
Seinera’s co-chairs are 23 other young men, a majority of whom represent Dallas’ Jewish community from nine schools. To participate, players must serve 15 hours and raise a minimum of $150 each. In 2022, the event raised more than $75,000. Their goal this year, to raise at least $10,000 more.
“The kids and their parents behind the event, the RoughRiders who do so much to help us out by rebuilding the field for us and making a donation of ticket sales and the umpires who donate their time to work our game — it’s all about a lot of people feeling good to make a difference for so many,” said Lori Glasser Seinera, Jordan’s mother and co-founder with him of the event. She has sat on the board of the beneficiary organization for 20 years.
“We are touched every day more than ever, and it really is a village coming together, each of us so inspired by purpose,” she said.
The Inspirers team, led by coach, and Jordan’s father, Michael Seinera and assistant coaches Blake Adkins and Josh Gingold includes Hudson Cooper, Matt Dubner, David Gershenson, Ben Goldstein, Brady Kuntz, Joey Lederman, Asher Levy, Gavin Martin, Cooper Rabin, Noah Raphael, Jack Stone and Cole Walker.
“It’s always good to help others and we are reminded in this how lucky we are to have our health,” said Matt Dubner, the son of Stephanie and Michael. He is a junior at Plano West Senior High School and, with his family, a member of Congregation Anshai Torah. “It’s a fun day at the ballpark and a great way to help a lot of people.”
Players for the Home Run Heroes, coached by Clint Walker and assistant Cole Feldman are Jack Bendalin, Brayden Dunbar, Grant Friedman, Jonathan Grossfeld, Ben Lane, Jak Kirkpatrick, Ryan Kollinger, Kyle Kraut, Jordan Seinera, Zach Shapiro, Guy Stern and Bryson Watt.
“We are honored to have these thoughtful and good young people believe in what we do and to help us help others in such a significant way,” said Leukemia Texas CEO, Jessica Dunn, one of the organization’s two employees. Each year the agency gives 320 patient-aide grants of up to $1000.
“During just the first year of the pandemic we lost $750,000 of our $1 million budget, so much of that was used to serve our patients and to provide grants for support.
“So many people lost jobs and had really hard times, but cancer didn’t stop coming at patients and treatments, hospitalizations and other needs of course didn’t slow. Our help supports those needs but also maybe keeps the lights on, food on the table and other support,” Dunn said. “Liz Minyard and Gretchen Minyard Williams helped us create Buddy Bear who, when no one else could get close enough to hug patients, could.”
Buddy Bear was named for Buddy Minyard who founded Leukemia Texas in 1970 and each $25 game ticket or other donation to adopt a Buddy Bear supports Texans in their leukemia journey. The bears are given, with a note of encouragement and a card recognizing the donor, as a huggable companion to join patients of all ages during treatments and hospital stays.
Texas Oncology is the event’s title sponsor. Lincoln “The Brave” Finley is the event’s honorary chair; Amelia Dammen is the LTX Ambassador; and Itamar Friedman will appear as Buddy Bear. Kylie Gingold will sing the National Anthem. Along with Peyton Berman, Cooper and Jackson Dunn, she will be selling sponsorships for additional Buddy Bears and accepting additional donations. The evening’s festivities will include a parade of Buddy Bear and the players, throughout the stands at Riders Field before the game.
“In organizing, fundraising and participating in this we’ve all learned skills I’m sure we’ll use throughout our lifetimes,” said Seinera, who was honored to throw out the RoughRiders’ first pitch before 2022’s inaugural charity game. “Most importantly we’ve learned, hands-on about giving back, being doers and helping others.
“We hope the community will come out to the ballgames and support us,” said Seinera, “in doing just that.”
For more information, to purchase tickets for the April 23 event, to adopt a Buddy Bear or make any other donation, visit leukemiatexas.org