A sports story is unfolding in Washington, D.C., that would make a great old fashioned Hollywood movie.
Ever since third baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s mother Cheryl was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995, the Washington Nationals star has continued to devote his time and efforts towards raising funds to find a cure for the disease.
Cheryl Zimmerman, herself a two-sport athlete in lacrosse and field hockey, showed symptoms of the disease when Ryan was only eleven years old. He and his brother helped to care for her by doing household chores.
When Ryan grew up to be a major leaguer he decided to raise awareness for his mother’s disease. At age twenty he established a charity to fight MS.
Starting first with golf tournaments in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Zimmerman's efforts made their way to the Washington Nationals baseball stadium.
In what is surely an unprecedented baseball contract negotiation, Zimmerman asked the Nationals owners to fund an annual summer benefit in the newly-built stadium.
Now in its second year, Zim (as he is fondly called) celebrates "Night at the Park" with food, music, and auction items for the ziMS Foundation.
His mother, confined to a wheel chair, chatted with attendees. "How proud of I am of Ryan,” she said.
Although the stadium was not filled with a game attendance record, the many benefit-goers were moved by the devoted son’s words. The Golden Glove winner poignantly explained why he does the fundraising to find a cure for MS and help family members cope with the disease.
He introduced others involved in the MS cause to help spread awareness towards projects aimed at curing MS. Fellow team mates were amongst the guests, adding luster to the event.
Country singer Rodney Atkins gave a concert and magician David Blaine performed magic tricks at a pre-concert reception.
A lively auction represented by CAA Sports took place to raise funds. Among the hot items were tickets to the Grammy Awards and after party.
The agents were very visible at the 2011 event and showed how business has the positive potential to raise awareness for this debilitating disease.
So if any Hollywood producers are looking for a new inspiring, tear-jerker sports movie, they need not look further than the nation’s capital. What a better story than a devoted son raising awareness for his mother’s crippling disease. With CAA already on board, expect to negotiate with experts.