Justin Turner made a special visit to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and invited four hematology-oncology patients to help him commemorate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by having them decorate a pair of his Adidas cleats.
Turner is going to wear the specially-designed cleats when the Los Angeles Dodgers face the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. It coincides with MLB permitting players, coaches, umpires and groundscrew members to wear gold ribbon decals on their jerseys and gold wristbands in honor of the annual Childhood Cancer Awareness Day.
“For the last three years I’ve been visiting CHLA in August to give kids who are battling cancer a chance to design my cleats that I wear for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month,” Turner told DodgerBlue.com.
“It’s something that I’ve found is a great way to connect with the kids and create a positive experience for them while they are cooped up in a hospital room.”
In collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer, MLB has encouraged teams to partner with local organizations or hospitals to put their own touches on recognizing September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Through collaborative work between MLB and Starlight Children’s Foundation, hospitals selected by 15 clubs will each receive a donation of 200 team-logoed Starlight Gowns, which will replace traditional hospital attire with comfortable and brightly colored gowns for children undergoing treatment.
Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States and Canada.
Turner, whose latest visit to CHLA will air during SportsNet LA’s pre-game coverage on Saturday, additionally met with Alan Wayne, MD, Director of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, to learn about advances being made in treating pediatric cancer.
“Justin is a hero to these kids — and not just because he is a star on the baseball field,” Wayne said in a statement provided to DodgerBlue.com.
“He is also raising awareness about pediatric cancer — including its impact on these children, their families and their communities, and the impact of the state-of-the-art care and groundbreaking research performed at CHLA.
“By inviting the kids to decorate the cleats he will wear on Saturday, he is placing their voice and their cause on a larger playing field. We are truly grateful for Justin’s partnership in the fight against childhood cancer.”
Turner and his wife Kourtney have made regular visits and contributions to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles through their Justin Turner Foundation (JTF). This past March, the couple and foundation were added to the hospital’s prestigious Spotlight Wall in recognition of their philanthropic efforts.
Then in June, the Turners were honorary hosts of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Walk and Play L.A. 2019 at the Memorial Coliseum.