#JackAttack: How Baseball is Helping Jack Strike Out Childhood Cancer

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Before being diagnosed with leukemia in November 2018, Jack was supporting other kids with cancer by fundraising for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Vs. Cancer program with his youth baseball league, the Carolina Blue Sox. Now, Vs. Cancer’s mission is even more personal to Jack’s community, and they immediately jumped into action to support him.

Durham Academy, Jack’s school and organizers of the annual King of Spring lacrosse tournament benefiting Vs. Cancer, dedicated their 2019 fundraising efforts to Jack. As a component of the program’s mission, part of the fundraising proceeds will help fund child life programs at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to support kids with cancer like Jack. His older brother Ethan, member of the Durham Academy Varsity baseball team, was the top fundraiser of the entire tournament.

Jack’s travel baseball organization, the Dirtbags, as well as the coaches at Baseball Rebellion, have also provided support. Calls from Joe Maddon and Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs brought a smile to Jack’s face during treatment. Davidson College head baseball coach Rucker Taylor, UVA’s head coach Brian O’Connor and Duke’s head coach Chris Pollard were additional sources of encouragement and strength.

For Jack’s mom Avery, the most heart-warming part of this experience has been watching his baseball network come together to support him. “Because of his coaches, people started to show up for Jack. These were friends, his baseball family. I didn’t have to call. They were just there. His support system is incredible,” she says.

After diagnosis, Jack’s first question was if he’d play baseball again. One of the side effects Jack has experienced is a rare reaction to steroids that decreases his arm muscles’ function and mobility. But he’s using baseball to stay active and motivated. Jack is learning first-hand the value of mental toughness in baseball and in life, and he plans to study sports psychology in college.

Jack entered remission after the first 30 days of treatment, but he still has a three-year treatment plan ahead of him and won’t stop receiving chemotherapy until 2020.

In honor of Jack’s 14th birthday on April 20, please join Vs. Cancer in wishing him a happy birthday by using the hashtag #JackAttack on social media. Additionally, you can make a donation to the 6th Annual Vs. Cancer Benefit Tournament or purchase a pair of #JackAttack socks to support Jack and other kids with cancer.

Interested in hosting your own Vs. Cancer fundraiser? Email info@vs-cancer.org or call 980-925-7557. Vs. Cancer empowers any sports team, any athlete and any community to help kids with cancer. As a signature fundraising campaign of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, proceeds help fund child life programs in local hospitals and lifesaving pediatric brain tumor research.