Oakland A's First Baseman to Chair Macy's Holiday Tree Lighting

Oakland A's first baseman and outfielder Nick Swisher greeted fans and signed autographs at the celebration launching the sale of lights for the 18th Annual Macy?s Holiday Tree-Lighting Ceremony.

Oakland A's first baseman and outfielder Nick Swisher delighted children with a visit to UCSF last week to help kick off the annual celebration launching the sale of holiday tree lights for the 18th Annual Macy's Holiday Tree-Lighting Ceremony in Union Square. For the fifth year in a row, proceeds from the sale of tree lights will benefit services for children with life-threatening illnesses at UCSF Children's Hospital. The 27-year-old Swisher, who signed autographs and gave children memorabilia at the event, will serve as the chair of this year's tree-lighting campaign. He will participate in the festivities when the department store illuminates its 85-foot-tall fir tree in Union Square on Friday, Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving Day. The kick off party also featured an early visit by Santa Claus, who listened to children's wishes, and elves, who painted faces of children.

A boy happily sits on Santa's lap at the kickoff event at UCSF last week.

Swisher is a longtime friend of UCSF Children's Hospital, said Executive Director Roxanne Fernandes, noting that he has visited the children's hospital to visit children in the inpatient playroom. Fernandes noted that in May, Swisher cut his long hair and donated it to a charity for cancer patients after his grandmother died from a cancerous brain tumor. "I know that we've all thought a lot lately about athletes and who they should be. Nick is an athlete who's a great example and role model for our children," Fernandes said. Sale of the tree lights is a benefit for Compass Care, the pediatric palliative care program that supports children and their families as they struggle with life-threatening illnesses. Each light costs $10, the purchase is tax-deductible and donors receive a souvenir tree-lighting pin. Lights may be purchased from UCSF Medical Center managers and employees. Last year, the sale of the lights garnered nearly $150,000 for the program. Related Links: UCSF Children's Hospital