Williams pushes Project 34 forward in friend's honor
When he was a freshman at Arizona State University, Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams saw his close friend and former teammate, Cory Hahn, have his career cut short when he fractured the C5 vertebrae in his neck and became paralyzed from the chest down after sliding headfirst into second base.
As a member of the Sun Devils, Hahn wore uniform number 34. This season, Williams switched to number 34 in his friend's honor.
"I told Cory that when I got to the big leagues I would do everything in my power to wear number 34," Williams said. "The opportunity presented itself this off-season and I swooped in on it. Hopefully, I'll get to wear this number for a long time in Pittsburgh."
Williams wanted to do more than just wear number 34 though. Early in 2018, he and his wife Jackie thought about what they could do to help others like Cory, who currently serves as coordinator of pro scouting for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
That's when the idea for Project 34 was born.
Project 34 is a non-profit organization dedicated to positively impacting those who suffer from spinal cord injuries by helping to purchase medical equipment and assistive devices, and provide funds to help patients afford physical therapy.
On June 23, Trevor and Jackie -- through the Project 34 initiative and in partnership with Pirates Charities -- hosted 30 Pittsburgh-area patients who suffer from spinal cord injuries, as well as their families, for a game at PNC Park.
As part of the day, the group had the opportunity to hang out on the field and take part in a meet-and-greet with Williams and some of his teammates before the Pirates game against the Diamondbacks. Players such as Jameson Taillon, Steven Brault, Jordy Mercer and Colin Moran mingled, signed autographs and posed for pictures with the group. In addition, proceeds from the Pirates Charities 50/50 Raffle that night benefitted Project 34 and its mission.
For Trevor, Jackie and their guests, the first Project 34 Day at PNC Park -- which included the group watching the Pirates-Diamondbacks game from one of the World Series Suites -- was heartwarming.
"Today our vision at Project 34 came to life when we welcomed guests to a Pirates game and an on-field experience at PNC Park." Trevor said. "Emotional and physical support is invaluable for someone with a spinal cord injury, and we're honored to have provided just one day of it. I'm looking forward to the future of Project 34 and I'm forever grateful to those who support our mission."?
To learn more about Project 34, visit projectthirtyfour.com.