The Princeton Rays announced on February 9 that the Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation will be their official local charity partner for the 2010 season. It was also unveiled that 2009 P-Rays' shortstop Dan Rhault will assume the role of official player spokesperson for the campaign.
The P-Rays organization, in conjunction with the Bluefield Orioles, last season played a large role in raising $5,100.00 for breast cancer awareness and research in the two teams' "Mercer County Nights of Hope Baseball Series." This year, the P-Rays will be focusing on aiding families identified by the Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation that have been victimized by the effects of pediatric cancer.
"We want to be able to use the vehicle of the Princeton Rays to assist charities in the community when we can and were very pleased with what we accomplished last year. As we learned more about the Powell Foundation, we knew that is where we wanted to target our attention for the 2010 season," said P-Rays General Manager Jim Holland.
With the P-Rays front offce and directors of the Powell Foundation, along with interested community members and sponsors working together, the fundraising will center around the P-Rays 4:00 p.m. home game versus the Bluefield Orioles on Sunday, August 8. The game will revolve around the sales of special $4.00 Powell Foundation game tickets to fans that will also make purchasers eligible for drawings throughout the game of a variety of merchandise prizes. It promises to be a game that fans will not want to miss. Tickets will for the August 8 game will become available for purchase in mid-May, 2010.
The event has already joined forces with an active corporate sponsor for the event, Wendy's, who will provide the first 1,000 people through the gate at the August 8 game with a FREE 5.5" x 8.5" action photo magnet of Dan Rhault and information on how to contribute to the Powell Foundation.
And, how does Rhault fit in the picture? The same vibrant player that Princeton baseball followers saw last year as the team's everyday shortstop himself is a survivor of an extended bout with childhood leukemia.
Early in his childhood, Rhault was diagnosed to have a cancer of the lymph nodes that was already in the mid-stages of development. Between the ages of 4-8, he received chemotherapy. For one particular stretch of a year, he spent the majority of his time in a Providence, RI hospital including one consecutive stretch of almost six months in which he did not leave at any time. From the ages of 8-13 he was always being observed for a chance of the cancer's reappearance before being declared by doctors at the age of 13 as "cancer-free." He then went on to a sucessful college baseball career at the University of Rhode Island that included being named the Atlantic-10 Conference "Player of the Year" in the spring of 2009. It Rhault about a split second to readily accept the role as player spokesperson for the Powell Foundation promotion with the Princeton Rays.
"I consider it an honor to be asked and I am proud to be involved with this. You know, when I was younger I always tried to keep this (his childhood cancer battle) under wraps and private. But now, I want to take my experiences and use them to encourage others. Anything that I can give back to help others get a second chance I am more than willing to do," said Rhault from his Rhode Island home during a recent telephone interview.
And, Rhault can certainly identify with the Powell Foundation's mission statement of "eradicating childhood cancer through research advocacy and education as well as provide financial and other types of support to families of children with cancer."
"During the time of my illness, my mom stayed with me all the time and did not have a paying job. My dad had to work twice as much too for us to get through this. I can definitely relate to the Powell Foundation thinking about how cancer affects the entire family," commented Rhault, who added his parents remain involved with a similar charitable organization in Providence entitled "The Tomorrow Fund."
The Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation was founded by Tim and Melissa Powell of Princeton in memory of their four-year old son Jonathan, who lost a courageous battle to Neuroblastoma on October 19, 2002.
"I told Tim Powell that I felt everyone in the Princeton Rays family: front office staff, players, and fans alike, would join together to do what we could to make the time leading up to and on August 8 a positive result that will help further the variety of good deeds that the Powell Foundation are doing for our community," concluded Holland.
Persons wanting to learn more about the Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation are encouraged to visit their website at www.jonathanshope.org. Those wanting to contact the Princeton Rays about their 2010 campaign with the Powell Foundation can do so by contacting the team either by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning the team's Hunnicutt Field office at (304) 487-2000.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.