Pawtucket Red Sox fans are used to seeing heroes round the bases at McCoy Stadium, but there was something special about Saturday, August 4th that brought new meaning to a win.
Sure – the PawSox beat the Rochester Red Wings 8-1 in the middle of their weekend matchup. Seven runs separated the Rhode Island Triple-A-affiliate from their series foes – a number which defined them as victors in the stat books.
Fans left the stadium feeling inspired, and the seven runs helped, but that’s not really what propelled their hearts to the clouds. It was instead the seven years of separation in a story they weren’t expecting – the story they watched come together during the fifth inning.
Nine-year old Noah Fogg was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just over two-years-old. On this day, Fogg was celebrating a win in a game nobody wants to play. This baseball fan beat cancer, and here he was, seven years later, ready to run the bases in a victory lap.
“It’s a day that I’ll never forget,” Noah’s mother, Heather Fogg, said in reflection of receiving her toddler’s diagnosis in 2011. “I didn’t know if he would be here today, but he persevered. He’s super strong. He’s super brave. He’s our little hero.”
On this day, Noah Fogg became a hero in the eyes of thousands of fellow baseball fans, many of them likely affected by cancer in their own lives, in one way or another. It’s a disease that holds no bias, and with its defeat comes a connection between strangers. In its remission comes a standing ovation – a bunch of congratulations and a whole lot of cheering.
“Homerun for Life was a wonderful opportunity for one of our kids to be showcased,” Tomorrow Fund Executive Director Lisa Abbenante said. “We are so happy to be able to celebrate with Noah and his family.”
The Tomorrow Fund is a local organization which is housed right on the Rhode Island Hospital campus. Its mission is to support families with children being treated in the oncology department by offering financial support during their time of need.
Thanks to a joint effort between Cox Communications, The Tomorrow Fund and The Pawtucket Red Sox, Noah Fogg celebrated being cancer free by high-fiving his baseball heroes as he rounded the bases for home plate – a dream come true for the young baseball fan elated to take part in the promotion, Homerun for Life.
PawSox President Dr. Charles Steinberg was just as thrilled to see young Noah’s story take center stage.
“I think that’s a moment I hope he’ll treasure,” Steinberg said. “For us, we love to create moments at a ball game. Moments that are for an individual or moments that fans will take away with them.”
When the 10,000 fans that have come to watch a ballgame realize they have come to see so much more, for Steinberg, that’s the silver lining connecting the bases and the community in the stands.
Rob Crain, the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at the Pawtucket Red Sox, shared similar sentiments.
“To watch Noah Fogg beat cancer and run around the bases,” Crain said, “I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the house. It was a truly spectacular event tonight.”
Witnessing Noah run the bases was a rewarding moment created by people that work for companies that care about community. That’s what Cox, the PawSox and the Tomorrow Fund are all about. It’s not just about winning games – it’s about winning battles that count.
Being able to bring a family moment together and highlight the Fogg’s in front of so many supporting fans was incredibly special for everyone involved.
“We’re excited to be able to work with the PawSox on programs like this,” Cox Communications Marketing Manager Gina Iacomini said. “This really ties in well with what our partnership with the PawSox is all about. It’s about helping connect people to each other and what’s important to them.”
“From where he was when he was two-years-old and he was diagnosed with leukemia, to now being nine-years-old and seven years in remission,” Heather Fogg said, “It’s been a great experience to watch him run the bases tonight … It was amazing … truly amazing.”
What’s amazing is the strength and courage of the Fogg family. Fans cheered on the nine-year-old as he happily sprinted from first, to second, to third and then home. As a toddler, Noah had to relearn how to walk and jump. It wasn’t easy – but here he was – energetically and happily rounding the bases to victory – a win the entire stadium was celebrating.
“He faced it with such courage and bravery,” his mother said.
“For such an awful, awful thing that he had to go through, that we had to go through as a family,” Noah’s father Jesse Fogg said, “To something as amazing as this … a once in a lifetime thing … we couldn’t be anymore thankful.”
Fans interested in helping to support children like Noah can find more information on the Tomorrow Fund website.