TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – Baseball player Tyler Casagrande from the University of Arizona spends much of his time on the baseball diamond, but he knows that too many children spend months in the oncology ward at Diamond Children’s Medical Center.
“It was a little crazy to see that this is where people wake up every day and live life every single day,” Casagrande said.
When college athletes began to earn on name, image and likeness, Casagrande knew he wanted his profits to go directly to children in the hospital battling cancer. So he started working on making a shirt and sweater.
“It’s a big house so for my last name, Casagrande, and a picture of me swinging.” in Casagrande. “When I put a picture out of the shirts, I said all my income would go to childhood cancer.”
The proceeds allowed him to donate $ 10,000 to the pediatric oncology unit, a case that hits home.
“I had two friends who lost their lives due to cancer growth,” Casagrande said. “My aunt still has cancer.”
As a result, his parents started their own non-profit organization for children battling cancer. Now Tyler is following in their footsteps.
“One of the biggest difficulties our families face when we get a child diagnosed with cancer is the financial burden,” Taylor Underwood told Banner UMC.
She works face to face with children fighting cancer and their families. She says that a simple “thank you” will not express the difference Casagrande’s donation will make.
“We really love being able to keep up and help them with simple things a tank of gasoline, a grocery bill, there are things that can increase quickly,” said Underwood.
$ 10,000 will help take some of the financial burden away from families and help make some hospital rooms feel a little more like home. Casagrande says he does not want this donation to be the last.
“The ultimate goal is to start a foundation here at U of A where all practitioners can donate their NIL efforts,” Casagrande said.
Tyler has not been able to meet any of the children and families his money helps due to current visit restrictions at Banner University Medical Center, but he hopes some of these children will be able to get out to a UArizona baseball game this spring.
Casagrande told us that he has got other athletes to contact him about how they can be able to make a similar donation.
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