This is the final installment of our HOPE Week Series. Read a summary of each event and listen to the entire week's activities including comments from the particpants and the Yankees.
Day 1, by John DeMarzo
12-year-old Daniel Trush suffered one of five brain aneurysms while playing basketball one day with his father, Ken. With Daniel in a coma at the hospital, Ken began to play music that he believed helped his son recover. Realizing that music was Daniel’s true passion, his family started Daniel’s Music Foundation, or DMF, which provides free music lessons to people with disabilities.
DMF held their summer concert on Monday, July 25 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, just off Broadway. Surprise guests turned out to be four current Yankees (right fielder Nick Swisher, catchers Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli, outfielder Chris Dickerson), former Yankee Bernie Williams, the lead singer of Aventura, and cast members from five Broadway musicals.
The Bronx Bombers lent their talents to the concert, and when it was over, the Yankees had one more surprise for DMF: they would be singing the National Anthem that night at the Yankees game. Despite a two-hour rain delay, DMF got their moment in the “sunshine.”
Day 2, by Ricky Cibrano
As Hope Week continued on Tuesday, July 26th, the Yankees celebrated the Tuesday’s Children mentoring program. Bronx bombers Mariano Rivera, Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes, Corey Wade, Steve Garrison and former manger Joe Torre surprised members of Tuesday’s Children at Beekman Beach club at the South Street Seaport.
Tuesday’s Children was founded in the year following the September 11th terrorist attacks in an effort to promote healing and recovery. The organization established a mentoring program that has helped to heal the wounds of those who have been affected by tragedy. Based in the New York tri-state region.
At the beach club, the Yankees honored Tuesday’s Children’s mentor of the year Keith Pryde, and his mentee Robert, presented a check for $10,000 to Tuesday’s Children, ate lunch, played ping pong, and even had a water balloon fight. After that, it was off to Yankee Stadium, where the kids got to stretch on the field with the players and mentor of the year Keith got to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, as well as deliver the lineup card with his mentee Robert—a fitting ending to a truly exhilarating day.
Day 3, by Kevin Price
After introducing the group on field before an afternoon loss to the Mariners, several players and coaches joined them on a double-decker bus tour of Manhattan. Among those on the tour were CC Sabathia, Jorge Posada, Freddy Garcia and coach Tony Pena.
The group departed from the stadium and headed to the Empire State Building. After lighting up the skyscraper, a surprise visit from Derek Jeter (who came bearing pizza) and a trip through Times Square kept the journey rolling. The Yankees presented the school with a 10,000 dollar check in front of a throng of fans to help continue their efforts.
The night finished with a trip to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, where Archbishop Timothy Dolan welcomed the group and showed them around the sanctuary and his residence.
Day 4, by Mack Rosenberg
17 year old Megan Ajello has cerebral palsy and scoliosis. She has had six life saving surgeries and is motivated by her yearly lemonade stand. People come from all over (as far as upstate New York) to hear her story and most importantly taste her lemonade. Brian Cashman surprised Megan on a late July morning with a brand new lemonade stand built by Yankee Stadium carpenters. The day ensued with hundreds of people buying lemonade and some Yankee players (Robinson Cano, Andruw Jones, Boone Logan, David Robertson, and Eduardo Nunez) meeting with Megan and helping her sell.
Day 5, by Chris Hilk
John Lahutsky and Andrei Sullivan were born with cerebral palsy in Soviet Union Russia. Put into the orphanage system as infants, doctors viewed them as incurable and their caregivers never taught them basic skills. John learned how to speak by listening to the caregivers and he taught the younger Andrei, they were the only two children in their unit who could communicate verbally.
Both were adopted and brought to the United States but they had not seen each other since 1997. Flash forward 14 years, the New York Yankees hosted a surprise reunion for John and Andrei behind the scenes of The Today Show and the two friends could not believe their eyes. Side by side once again, John and Andrei spent the rest of the day taking a carriage ride with Yankee skipper Joe Girardi, exploring to the Central Park Zoo with Yankee coaches Kevin Long and Larry Rothchild as well as Mark Teixeira and Brett Gardner, and watching the Yankees taking batting practice from the field. They also threw out the ceremonial first pitch. John and Andrei never dreamed their reunion would occur in such style.