PASADENA, Calif. -- Slugging three homers in a pennant clincher was Enrique Hernandez's most memorable impact on the Dodgers' 2017 season, but he started '18 trying to make an even greater impact on the world.Hernandez rode on the City of Hope float in Monday's Tournament of Roses Parade to raise
PASADENA, Calif. -- Slugging three homers in a pennant clincher was Enrique Hernandez's most memorable impact on the Dodgers' 2017 season, but he started '18 trying to make an even greater impact on the world.
Hernandez rode on the City of Hope float in Monday's Tournament of Roses Parade to raise awareness for cancer research. He was joined on the float by two notable cancer survivors -- his father, Enrique Sr., and former Dodgers general manager Fred Claire.
Dr. Stephen J. Forman is in his fourth decade of service at the City of Hope, a not-for-profit clinical research center, hospital and graduate medical school that treated Claire and set up a treatment program for the senior Hernandez, who had bone marrow cancer and lives in Puerto Rico.
"For us, we get to see our patients participate in a big event, normal activities away from the hospital, and it gives us a sense of accomplishment," Forman said. "Having Kiké on the float is extra special because City of Hope is Dodgertown. There are a lot of fans among the patients and staff, and it gives us a lot of pride that he honored us by being on the float with his dad. To see father and son on the float together is what it's all about. We wanted them to have this special occasion."
The Hernandez family had never spent a holiday season off the island until being asked to participate in the Rose Parade by Forman.
"Growing up in Puerto Rico, I didn't know much about the Rose Parade, but now I get what it means," Kiké said.
Several Dodgers participated in the Rose Parade 10 years ago, marking the 50th anniversary of the club's arrival from Brooklyn. Four years ago, legendary broadcaster Vin Scully was the parade's grand marshal. This time, the City of Hope float, themed "Transforming Lives with Hope," was honored with the Coleman Award for best use of color, and the judges weren't even considering Kiké's newest hair shade, a blueish silver.
Claire, the last Dodgers general manager to win a World Series in 1988, held a charity golf tournament in August to benefit City of Hope.
"To be here and be part of the City of Hope group is an incredible experience, to be able to call attention to Dr. Forman and all the incredible staff involved and the volunteers," Claire said. "It's been a long journey. My cancer started with a spot on my lip. Then two years later it went into my jaw, and ultimately into my neck. I've seen first-hand the type of treatment City of Hope offers, but I've also seen the need and families and children. I wanted to do something to help."
Forman said Monday's participation of Dodgers past and present in City of Hope functions offers tangible evidence of medical breakthroughs.
"With Kiké's father and Fred, we have two examples of the benefits from research done in the last 20 years to improve the therapies for these diseases," Forman said. "To see that our research can have its obvious effect on people right in front of us, this is why we go to work every day."