Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester has been named as the team’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, but instead of sending out a simple press release or congratulatory tweet, the team did something special for the philanthropic hurler.
Lester, who battled anaplastic large cell lymphoma earlier in his career, has become an outspoken advocate for cancer research and treatment, and some of the people he’s helped along the way were tapped by the Cubs to share their emotional stories in a video published to social media Monday:
From Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, whom Lester encouraged and supported during his battle with cancer, to kids that Lester has invited to Wrigley Field for special meet-and-greets, everyone in the video expressed their gratitude to the pitcher for his work, and thanked him for his support.
“After meeting Jon Lester, he gave me the visual that even people who are doing really big things can still have the heart to help people,” Mariana Moreno, who met Lester at Wrigley Field during a specially-arranged meet-and-greet, said.
“I just want to give Jon Lester a big hug for everything that he’s done, and is doing, for kids,” Moreno’s mother added. “That was a really special moment.”
Lester’s “NVRQT” campaign, launched in 2012, helps raise awareness and funds for children’s cancer research.
Three Cubs players have won the Clemente Award, given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” Rizzo won the award in 2017.