Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Race Like No Other - Fans Race in Honor of Veterans

Fenway's Famed Home Plate is Finish Line in New "Run to Home Base"




Millions of Red Sox fans dream of crossing home base at Fenway Park with a crowd cheering them on. Now this May, some 3,500 fans will be able to know the thrill of running across home plate at America’s Most Beloved Ballpark, while at the same time raising funds to support services for local veterans with deployment-related stress disorders and traumatic brain injuries.

Red Sox and Massachusetts General Hospital officials today announced the new 9K "Run to Home Base," a unique fundraising event to benefit the new Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. The program is a philanthropic partnership between the Red Sox official team charity and one of the nation’s most renowned teaching hospitals. The new program, announced last fall, serves local veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

"The Run to Home Base is a unique 'fun run' through scenic Boston, ending with a once-in-a-lifetime experience of finishing the race by crossing home plate at the oldest and smallest ball park in the Major Leagues - Fenway Park," said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. "It's also a great opportunity for fans to show their support for the many local heroic servicemen and women who have served all of us."

On Sunday, May 23, 2010, fans from across Red Sox Nation will take part in this first-of-its-kind fundraising event. Participation in the run is limited to the first 3,500 registered runners (16 years and older). Each participant is required to raise a minimum charitable donation of $1,000 for the Home Base Program.

"We are thrilled to have such a unique event that will blend the supporters of the Red Sox Foundation, Mass General, the veteran community and our community at large," says Peter Slavin, MD, President and CEO of Massachusetts General Hospital. "Events like this help raise exposure of the program to veterans and their families, and help us to expand the services we can offer to veterans who not only need but deserve our support."

Friends and family members of participants in the Run to Home Base are invited to cheer from the stands at Fenway as their loved one crosses home plate. Local veterans and their families will also enjoy the Run to Home Base Family Fun Zone and Expo, located in the Fenway Park concourse areas. Children can enjoy face painting, balloon animals and other entertainment, while supporters of all ages are encouraged to stop by the Military Appreciation Booth to send a special message to local service men and women on duty abroad.

Veterans and their family members can also visit exhibit booths that will provide more information about services and programs available for veterans and programs by sponsors. The Red Sox Foundation and Mass General Hospital Home Base Program booth will also provide more information about the new program and how veterans and their families can get involved. Concession stands will be open throughout the event for all to enjoy.

Thousands of servicemen and women returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan grapple with what government officials are now calling "the two signature wounds" of this war - deployment-related stress disorders and traumatic brain injury. These conditions are complex, highly individualized and difficult to recognize. Families of veterans affected by stress or traumatic brain injury after combat often need guidance as they seek ways to better support their loved veteran.

According to the 2008 RAND Corporation study "The Invisible Wounds of War," of the 1.64 million service members who have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, nearly one in five currently suffers from depression or stress disorders, including combat-related stress disorders. In addition, nearly 20 percent of veterans who served in these ongoing conflicts experienced a concussion or other traumatic brain injury during their tours of duty.

"It takes tremendous courage for a veteran to step forward and ask for help," says John A. Parrish, MD, director of the Home Base Program, who served as a medical officer in the Marines Corps during the Vietnam War. "In New England alone, thousands of veterans who need and deserve our care avoid treatment because of this stigma. The Run to Home Base will not only raise funds for our program, but awareness of these conditions and the ways we can all help."

To Register for the 2010 Run to Home Base
To learn more about the 9K Run to Home Base or to register, visit www.runtohomebase.org. Only 3,500 fundraising runners will be allowed to enter the race. Prizes will be given in several categories. Interested corporate sponsors can call Gena Borson at the Red Sox Foundation at 617-226- 6614 or email runtohome@redsox.com or Tracy West at Massachusetts General Hospital at 617-643-6789 or email tawest@partners.org.

All donations to the Home Base Program and those made in supports of runners competing in this charitable fundraising race are tax deductible. Checks can be sent to the Red Sox Foundation/Home Base Program, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston MA 02215.

About the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program
The Home Base Program is a new philanthropic partnership between the team charity and Massachusetts General Hospital dedicated to improving the lives of veterans returning from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars with deployment-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI). The program includes clinical care, family support, research, and educational outreach.

For more information about the Red Sox Foundation, the award winning team charity of the Boston Red Sox, please visit www.redsoxfoundation.org.

Valerie Wencis, (617) 726-0274, vwencis@partners.org

Tracy West, Home Base Program, (617) 643-6789

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