Giants fever came to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital today (Oct. 27) when San Francisco Giants Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, Giants legend Vida Blue and mascot Lou Seal visited patients battling cancer.
The Giants, Major League Baseball and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) teamed up for the morning visit to the oncology unit at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
“I’m flattered to even be asked to be here to help brighten these kids’ day and bring some joy to their lives,” said Blue, a former Cy Young and MVP award winner. “Hopefully, we made a difference, just for today. When it affects kids, it really brings it home.”
Robert Goldsby, MD, associate professor in the department of pediatrics, accompanied Blue, Perry and Lou Seal to visit 12 pediatric patients ages 3 to 27 while they signed baseball hats, shirts and World Series books.
“At the last time the Giants won the World Series (1954) childhood cancer was uniformly fatal,” said Goldsby. “Now treating childhood cancer is a triumph of modern medicine. Over the past 50 years, the treatment has gotten better and better and now 75 percent of children diagnosed are cured of the disease. But in order to get there, they must endure a series of intense treatments like chemo, radiation and surgery. …To have this diversion brings a part of the World Series to them and really helps them get through it.”
To Gaylord Perry, the visit struck especially close to home. “I lost my son five years ago to leukemia. I know why it’s so important that baseball is doing this,” he said. “I know what these parents are going through.”
After touring the first set of patient rooms and greeting smiling fans with handshakes and pom-poms, Goldsby instructed the visitors to wash their hands for two minutes before entering the pediatric bone marrow transplant unit, where some of the most intense therapies are being administered.
However, there was one visitor who could not wash his hands – Lou Seal – who nurses made sure donned extra large gloves over his flippers to stay sterile.
Parents were equally excited by the visit. “I’m really speechless,” said parent Jeff Galicia. “It’s just such a great thing for the kids coming in for chemo everyday to have something like this that is just amazing and so positive.”
Game One of the 2010 World Series will be dedicated to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and in 2008 MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, made an initial contribution of $10 million – making MLB the founding, lead partner for the campaign.
Photos by Juliana Bunim