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Sweeping Away Worries For A Day

(Credit: NEW YORK YANKEES)

Left to right on top row: Jacoby Ellsbury, Starlin Castro, Unknown, Carlos Beltran, Flavio Ruiz, Joe Girardi. Middle row: Debbie Sardone, Marybell Ruiz, daughter Amaya, son Masiah, Evelyn Rodriguez. Bottom row: Lena Girardi.

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This is the second of a five part series on the Yankees eighth annual HOPE Week. Tomorrow: Eating Right, Growing Right.

Almost everyone sighs at the thought of having to dust, sweep, vacuum, and wash, and that’s just the start of getting your home in order. That’s why it’s so important to help others because sometimes the little things can make the biggest difference. On Tuesday, June 7th, Marybell Ruiz, battling Stage 4 colon cancer, received a few helping hands.

This happened as the Yankees recognized the charity, Cleaning For A Reason on the second day of its eighth annual HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel). Founded by Debbie Sardone in 2006, the organization aims to support women undergoing treatment for any kind of cancer by offering free monthly house cleanings to allow those patients to focus on their health. It is the only nonprofit organization that does such a thing, according to Sardone.

Before starting this charity, Sardone was the owner of Buckets and Bows Maid Service. One day, a client told Sardone, “I won’t be able to afford that now; I’m undergoing cancer treatment” and hung up. Sardone didn’t have the woman’s phone number so she couldn’t help her but she knew at that moment that no woman undergoing cancer treatment would ever have to worry about paying for her services.

Since its founding, Cleaning For A Reason, based in Lewisville, Texas, has recruited 1,200 maid services to help more than 21,000 women. This time, Sardone recruited a different kind of maid service, one made up of athletes, the New York Yankees! The Yankees would do their best to make Marybell’s home look spotless, as she fights something that nobody deserves.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, and his daughter Lena, surprised the 34-year old mother of two, who is a Bronx native and a “diehard Yankees fan.” Ruiz put her hands over her face as Girardi walked through the doorway. He and his daughter were followed by a few of his players, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Starlin Castro, adding to Marybell’s disbelief. All Marybell could say was that she was shocked.

Girardi, his daughter Lena, and Marybell then went over to the school that Marybell’s two children attend to surprise her 12 year old son, Masiah, and her 9 year old daughter, Amaya. If that wasn’t surprising enough, the kids were even more shocked to find the players in their home. Marybell’s husband, Flavio, took pictures as the wide-eyed kids met the towering athletes.

The Yankees assisted a volunteer cleaner from Spotless Services, Evelyn Rodriguez, in cleaning the apartment. It’s a huge help to Marybell who said, “I’m not able to bend down, or sweep so much, or lift anything heavy.” She added that simply mopping around could put her in the hospital.

Sardone said, “A lot of these women are used to doing it all, and often times as women, we feel like the Superwoman and we don’t want to let our families down so it’s incredibly important when they come home, the house is freshly cleaned, and a lot of these women have told us that they finally feel a little bit more back in control of their lives when their house is cleaned and everything looks good and smells good.”

On kitchen duty, Jacoby Ellsbury said his favorite part of the day was “just seeing the smile on her face.” The Yankee centerfielder stated, “You know obviously she’s going through a lot and it’s nice to be able to help someone in need, you know, clean their kitchen, clean their house, just take the stresses of life out of them.”

Carlos Beltran added, “It’s great to see people out there donating their time to come and help these people that are going through tough times.” It meant a lot to Beltran to be one of those people as he said he’s “a believer that it’s always great to give back.”

Sardone was very appreciative of the Yankees’ support. Debbie said, “It is incredible to have the Yankees support Cleaning For A Reason. Exposure, awareness is so important because there’s women everywhere who need this service and have no idea it’s available in their local community.”

Marybell Ruiz couldn’t contain her excitement when talking about the day. At one point, she jokingly said it was shocking because “men don’t like cleaning.” As far as the impact it left on her family, “It shows that they appreciate and they think about other people as well,” said Marybell.

“It was a beautiful surprising gift,” in the words of the diehard Yankee fan. However, her dream didn’t end there; that night, Marybell threw out the first pitch, along with Debbie, before the Yankees took the field.

To listen to the audio piece, click play below.

(Interviews courtesy of Yankees on Demand)

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