Mets Pitcher Johan Santana Donates for Melanoma Research
For more than five years, New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana has made funding for melanoma research a personal cause. On Tuesday, he plans to announce a $100,000 donation to New York University Langone Medical Center to support prevention, detection and research on the treatment of melanoma.
Mr. Santana, 33 years old, is making the gift with his wife, Yasmile, from his personal foundation and in partnership with the New York Mets Foundation. Mr. Santana was the opening day starter for the Mets this year, returning to the game after missing the 2011 season because of a shoulder injury.
Between games this week, Mr. Santana took the time to tour NYU Langone’s Interdisciplinary Melanoma Cooperative Group, the research program dedicated to identifying the risk factors and markers for melanoma. The goal of the group is to create new treatments for the disease. “Amazing” is how he described the facility. “I’m very happy with everything they do.”
Mr. Santana’s connection to melanoma research is through his agent, Edward L. Greenberg. Mr. Greenberg’s wife, Lynne, died from melanoma cancer in 2007 at the age of 42. “Lynne was a great person and a great friend,” says Mr. Santana. “To see that she was gone in a short period of time, it was tough.” And so the Santana family sought a way to pay tribute to Lynne and also do something to “find a cure for this deadly disease,” says Mr. Santana, who has been a spokesman for skin-cancer awareness.
His gift to NYU Langone is in response to recent advances in melanoma research, he says. “To help right now is good…and we’re going to continue helping as much as we can.”
For more than 10 years, Major League Baseball has made the dangers of skin cancer a public campaign at stadiums and during games through its “Play Sun Smart” program. Some stadiums now have sunscreen dispensers and, at spring training, canopies were brought out to shield fans from the sun. As for his own family, Mr. Santana says that he and his three children always wear sunscreen. “Every time” they go outside, he says. “We’re in Florida most of the time and you never know…You got to protect yourself.”
Mr. Santana raises money for his foundation through events, like a wine tasting schedule for June. Separately, his foundation supports the building of a sport facility with baseball field in his hometown of Tovar, Venezuela.
You can read the rest of the article at The Wall Street Journal: Mets Pitcher Johan Santana Donates for Melanoma Research