Like every Major League Baseball player, Minnesota Twins’ outfielder Michael A. Taylor will be trying to knock it out of the park this season. But Taylor is tying his performance at the plate with a cause that runs deep – rare disease research.
Taylor, who lost his sister to a rare genetic condition, hopes to raise $150,000 in her honor to accelerate scientific advancements for diseases like hers. His sister Danielle was born with trisomy-18, which causes severe developmental delays and only a 5-10% chance to live beyond the first year. Danielle beat the odds to reach her 20th birthday.
The ball player is asking supporters to make a pledge for every home run he hits this season and will match those pledges – dollar for dollar – up to $75,000. The funds will go to Uplifting Athletes, a nonprofit organization and community of athletes that seek to raise awareness and improve the lives of those living with rare diseases.
“We are in a unique position to honor Danielle and so many other families affected by a rare diagnosis. While this is my first season with the Twins, I am proud to support Uplifting Athletes again so that a brighter future can exist for the over 10,000 rare diseases that still need an FDA-approved treatment,” Taylor said in an article on the Uplifting Athletes blog. “I will be giving my all on the diamond to support this cause. Together we can inspire hope.”
So far, Taylor has hit three home runs this season and according to his Pledge It page, he estimates he will hit a career high of 30. Through a variety of programs, Uplifting Athletes turns college and pro athletes into ambassadors for the rare disease cause.
For several years, global biotech leader CSL has been the presenting sponsor of the organization’s annual Young Investigator Draft. In the spirit of the NFL draft, and all its fanfare, the program awards grants of NFL draft fanfare to enable rare disease researchers to pursue much-needed research for new treatments and potential cures. CSL Behring, a business unit of CSL, develops and manufactures medicines for rare and serious diseases.