In September, members of the 22nd District Police 2261 Tactical Team stepped up to the plate to raise awareness and funds for pediatric brain tumor research. The officers participated in the Swing for the Stars wiffle ball home run derby supporting the Anthony’s Avengers DIPG Foundation.
Anthony’s Avengers is committed to raising awareness of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare type of brain cancer that mainly affects children. The foundation was established in honor of 7-year-old Anthony Pappalas, who passed away after battling the deadly pediatric brain cancer for 19 months. Anthony lived in the 19th Ward. The foundation provides funding for effective treatment and research, as well as resources to families dealing with DIPG.
Anthony’s stepfather, Ruben Cardoza, is head of the 2261 Tact Team was an organizer of the home run derby that supports his family’s foundation. Three of Officer Cardoza’s tact team officers – Sgt. Robert Kellam, Officer Gary Claxton and Officer John Scajerski — competed in the derby. Sgt. Kellam (who took second place in his bracket, said he went to bat at the derby because he learned about Anthony’s Avengers from Officer Cardoza and the event was a good way to engage with the community and support an important cause.
Officer Cardoza said the 22nd district tact team has been “more than great” to the Anthony’s Avengers Foundation, supporting the groups work to raise funds and awareness aimed at the quest to cure childhood cancer. This kind of engagement with the community has a positive impact, showing that, as Officer Cardoza said, “Police are part of the community and here to help.”
The derby was open to ages 8 and up, with competition in four age divisions; 65 people of all ages participated. Batters had 1 ½ minutes to hit as many home runs and possible. Participants with the most runs advanced to finals that culminated in timed, head-to-head at-bats with the top two batters.
All proceeds from the event benefits pediatric brain tumor research. Learn more about the Anthony’s Avengers DIPG Foundation at anthonysavengers.org or on social media, @anthonysavengers.