Major League Baseball has a long history of working with institutions that work to fight cancer and educate the public about the disease. That network expanded by one on Wednesday, with the announcement of a new partnership between MLB and The James Cancer Center at The Ohio State University in Columbus.
The collaboration with The James, whose full name is The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Center Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, is a multi-year sponsorship aimed at educating fans across the United States on cancer awareness, prevention, detection and treatment.
The campaign will span numerous platforms to spread awareness about the groundbreaking cancer research and the individualized, compassionate care delivered at The James.
"With baseball being the national pastime, anything we can do to get our cancer program out to the public, I think will not only help us, but will help people who go to baseball games and watch baseball on TV to understand that cancer is a world-wide problem and we are making strides every day in both the clinical care of patients, the research of patients, to really help," said William Farrar, MD CEO of The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.
To launch the partnership, The James will become the presenting sponsor of "MLB Comebacks," a must-see 360-degree highlight franchise that will spotlight the league's come-from-behind wins throughout the season.
The James will also develop plans for on-site cancer screenings and educational initiatives beginning in 2021 at key events such as the MLB All-Star Game and World Series.
Both activities will serve as a reminder of several key points when dealing with cancer and the related issues that emerge from a diagnosis. The "MLB Comebacks" theme dovetails with the idea that thanks to modern advances in research and treatment, an individual's cancer journey can have a happy ending, even if the odds aren't encouraging at the outset.
And the presence of on-site cancer screenings drives home the point that early detection can go a long way in beating the disease.
“When there's life, there's hope," said Raphael Pollock, MD, PhD, director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. "So long as we can communicate honestly about the possibility for a patient, and enable them to feel that they have a measure of control of a situation that is inherently not controllable, we can help them."
With one in three women and one in two men diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, MLB and The James will continue to elevate the conversation around cancer research, prevention and treatment. Central to this joint effort is a series of branded public service announcements created by MLB and The James to inform the public about cancer risk, screening and treatment advances.
"At the heart of this partnership is a desire to extend baseball’s reach to educate our fans in pursuit of saving lives," said Melanie LeGrande, MLB Vice President, Social Responsibility. "The James is a leader in cancer research, treatment and prevention programs, and we are grateful for the opportunity for them to join our sport’s ongoing commitment to supporting the fight against this disease."
With cancer directly impacting more than 1.76 million Americans annually, there will always be a need for platforms that create awareness and education. The James, one of the country’s leading cancer centers, provides a strong voice to a widespread community of baseball fans.
"This is a great opportunity to get the cancer message out there more widely, from early detection to prevention to clinical care to research," Dr. Farrar said. "We really are greatly overwhelmed by this opportunity, to get not only our name out there, but to also help the cancer patient, and prevent the cancer patient."