SU2C unites fans, players in touching tribute

November 3rd, 2022

The end of the fifth inning of Game 4 of the World Series marked a continuing tradition that has long been a staple of Major League Baseball’s jewel events -- the Stand Up to Cancer moment.

Regardless of the score, no matter the intensity of the game, everything stops for a brief time as the entire stadium -- players, coaches, managers, umpires and fans -- stand in unity to support those who are currently fighting cancer or who have fought it in the past, or to honor the memory of those who succumbed to the disease.

Statistics show that nearly everyone in this country knows someone who has dealt with cancer. That’s what makes the SU2C moment so meaningful -- every person in the ballpark is offered a placard to write the name of a loved one, friend, colleague or acquaintance who has been affected by cancer.

Earlier in the day, Astros manager Dusty Baker and designated hitter Trey Mancini spoke about their own battles against cancer. Mancini revealed he’d be honoring Ryan Minor, his former Minor League manager, while Baker wrote the name of Ysabel Esplana, his late mother-in-law, on his placard.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, a noted Phillies fan, attended Game 4 and had three names written on two placards: “Pop -- Jim’s dad” on one and “Beau and Corey” on the other. Dr. Biden attended the game as part of the Biden Administration’s Cancer Moonshot.

Astros pitcher Justin Verlander wrote two names on his placard: Karen Hicks and Doug Brandmahl. Astros designated hitter David Hensley wrote “everyone” with a heart.

Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins and pitcher Zack Wheeler both wrote “My mom.” Wheeler’s placard included one more name -- Corey Phelan, the 20-year-old Phillies Minor Leaguer who recently passed away from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Bryce Harper held up three names: “My Aunt Suzie,” “Gpa Brooks” and “Gpa Knight.”

Prior to Game 4, Luke Theodosiades, a 19-year-old Phillies fan from Ridley Township, Pa., threw out a ceremonial first pitch as a special invited guest of MLB and SU2C. Luke is a pediatric cancer survivor who was diagnosed at 11. His cancer didn’t respond well to initial cancer treatments, and his doctors recommended he participate in a clinical trial run by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation -- Stand Up To Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team.

Through this trial, Luke was successfully treated with CAR-T therapy in May 2016. The therapy sent Luke’s cancer into remission, which meant he was then able to receive a bone marrow transplant from his brother Niko later that same year. Luke is doing well, and he is now majoring in education and minoring in athletic coaching and administration at Kutztown University, which is 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) is a groundbreaking initiative created to accelerate innovative cancer research that gets new therapies to patients quicker. Since its inception, SU2C has announced nine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals for new cancer therapies supported by SU2C research.

MLB and its 30 clubs have donated more than $50 million to SU2C since the partnership was first formed in 2009. As a founding donor, MLB has conducted significant awareness-building efforts through public service announcements, in-stadium promotions and various fundraising events.

Learn more about SU2C at