The Somerset Patriots honored cancer survivors before Tuesday's game against the Akron Rubber Ducks. Left to Right) Sparkee, INF Oliver Dunn, Grace Eline, Dr. Rahul Parikh | Photo: Dan DellaPiazza

Bridgewater, New Jersey – The Somerset Patriots, the New York Yankees Double-A affiliate, partnered with RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey to host National Cancer Survivors Night at TD Bank Ballpark on Tuesday, June 7.

Over 200 cancer survivors and their guests gathered at the ballpark in celebration of their strength and commitment to defeat cancer and inspire others to do the same.

13-year old cancer survivor Grace Eline and Dr. Rahul Parikh threw out ceremonial first pitches wearing Patriots home jerseys with “Beat Cancer” on the back.

“The opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitch alongside 13-year old cancer survivor Grace Eline, with more than 200 cancer survivors and their families in attendance, was inspirational,” said Dr. Parikh, Medical Director, Laurie Proton Therapy Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. “As an organization, the Somerset Patriots share our core values, and this was truly a special evening celebrating survivorship, while raising awareness for cancer research, treatment and prevention.”

Eline was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2018 and received her successful treatments including proton beam therapy at RWJBarnabas Health facilities- Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, the Laurie Proton Therapy Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Grace is cancer free and living her life as a “normal” teenager.

The event was also part of Hope At Bat, a Minor League Baseball initiative designed to help save lives, celebrate lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer. The Patriots will be auctioning off a team signed purple bat through MiLB Auctions. The online auction will run until 9:00 pm on Thursday, June 30. The proceeds from the auction will benefit RWJBarnabas Health Oncology Services. Bidding can be done at https://bit.ly/3Q9vZfp.

“We were honored to open our home to so many cancer survivors, their families and friends,” said Patriots President/General Manager Patrick McVerry. “There isn’t a person whose life has not been impacted by this terrible disease. It was a special night recognizing the unbelievable strength of those that are battling and beating cancer and hopefully encourage others to join the fight.”

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey is the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Together RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute offer the most advanced cancer treatment options close to home.

This was an official press release from the Somerset Patriots. The Somerset Patriots are the New York Yankees Double-A Affiliate and develop today’s top minor league talent into the pinstriped superstars of tomorrow for MLB’s winningest team. The Patriots compete in the Double-A Northeast League and play their home games at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ, where fans of all ages and levels of baseball fandom get to enjoy the unique experience that is minor league baseball. To learn more, visit: www.somersetpatriots.com.