In 2018, Minor League Baseball™ (MiLB) and its Copa de la Diversión® (Fun Cup™) initiative began a partnership with the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) to develop the ¡Adiós Lupus! campaign, an in-ballpark and digital campaign designed to raise awareness of lupus among Hispanic communities and the entire MiLB fan
In 2018, Minor League Baseball™ (MiLB) and its Copa de la Diversión® (Fun Cup™) initiative began a partnership with the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) to develop the ¡Adiós Lupus! campaign, an in-ballpark and digital campaign designed to raise awareness of lupus among Hispanic communities and the entire MiLB fan base.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause pain and inflammation in any part of the body. According to LFA, Hispanics are two to three times more likely to develop lupus. Lupus is also the fifth-leading cause of death for Hispanic women between 15 and 24 years old.
During its inaugural 2019 season, ¡Adiós Lupus! was expanded to include MiLB's participating Copa de la Diversión teams so that local LFA chapters could engage with MiLB fans while raising awareness about lupus.
One MiLB team that worked with a local LFA chapter in 2019 was the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (with the Vejigantes de Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as their Copa de la Diversión identity). The RailRiders welcomed the Philly Tri-State LFA chapter to PNC Field on Aug. 31, 2019, their last Copa de la Diversión game of the season. At the game, LFA was recognized as the "Community Organization of the Game," while representatives from the LFA had a table in a prime spot on the concourse, threw out the first pitch, were interviewed on the field in front of home plate during pre-game ceremonies and were also interviewed on the radio broadcast of the game.
One of the most memorable moments of the night for the chapter's volunteers was when a woman came up to their table and told them how grateful she was that an organization like theirs exists because she lives with lupus.
The RailRiders also received several comments on their social media platforms from fans reaching out to thank them for their efforts. One Facebook comment posted on the team's page read, "This makes my heart smile. I haven't seen Lupus Awareness much with sports organizations, and to see it with a local team made me so emotional. THANK YOU! My family is now looking forward to the August 31st game."
This month, Minor League Baseball and the Lupus Foundation of America will collaborate on a digital campaign for Put on Purple Day on May 15, which will raise awareness about lupus and encourage donations to help fight the disease. MiLB teams will use their social media platforms to raise awareness about lupus in their local communities, while the @MiLB social media platforms will support the cause nationally.
Chanel Zapata is a Specialist, Marketing Strategy & Research with Minor League Baseball.