WASHINGTON -- The ziMS Foundation held its eighth annual "A Night at the Park" benefit on Monday night at Nationals Park, an event Ryan Zimmerman still enjoys like it was the first.Zimmerman and his family were joined by the members of his foundation and some of his Nationals teammates along
WASHINGTON -- The ziMS Foundation held its eighth annual "A Night at the Park" benefit on Monday night at Nationals Park, an event Ryan Zimmerman still enjoys like it was the first.
Zimmerman and his family were joined by the members of his foundation and some of his Nationals teammates along with some VIP guests to enjoy cocktails and food and a chance to bid during a silent and live action throughout the night. The event raised more than $200,000, and over eight years, more than $1.5 million has been raised. The foundation has donated more than $3 million in the fight against multiple sclerosis (MS).
"It's a lot of fun," said Zimmerman, who earlier in the day was named the National League Player of the Week. "I think whenever you do these things a lot of people have to do a lot of work and don't enjoy them, but this night is so much fun for me and everyone involved. I honestly look forward to it every year."
Zimmerman established the ziMs Foundation in 2006 and dedicated it to the treatment and cure of MS by funding support and educational programs. The cause was important to Zimmerman because his mother, Cheryl, was diagnosed with MS in 1995. Cheryl serves as the foundation board's treasurer. The foundation has raised more than $3 million in the fight against MS.
"Me and my brother kind of always talked about if either of us had a chance to do something about it, not just for her but for everyone else affected by the disease as well, that we would try and do something," Zimmerman said. "Obviously baseball is my platform. I'm proud to be able to help out my mom, but everyone else as well."
Some of the most notable memorabilia auctioned off included: a Zimmerman game-worn jersey; autographed jerseys from the NBA's Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and LeBron James; guitars signed by Slash and Harry Styles; a Texas Rangers cap signed by Nolan Ryan; baseballs signed by Hank Aaron; getaway trips to Jamaica, South Italy and St. Andrews, and more.
The event concluded with a performance from Canaan Smith, a country music star and Virginia native.
"We try and switch it up a little bit every year to keep people wanting to come back and give them something new," Zimmerman said. "It's kind of transformed from a smaller event outside to a huge event outside and now we've kind of come back to this 250-300 person inside."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.