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Contributing Writer: Brandi Milloy

Twelve year old Elliot Mast has been using his love of baseball to make a difference in the lives of sick children.

He got the idea to help his local Children’s Hospital after seeing a commercial about major league baseball player, Curtis Granderson, whose Grand Kids Foundation provides education and baseball opportunities to inner city youth.  As a means of fundraising for his Scoring For Schools initiative, Granderson asked his fans to pledge money for home runs, runs scored and extra base hits.

Elliot became inspired to do the same thing and decided to dedicate his baseball season to the kids at a local Children’s Hospital.  A member of the KooDooZ youth advisory board, Danielle Beauregard, interviews Elliot:

Elliot is no rookie player.  Last year he raised more than $5,000 dollars by playing ball!  Elliot plays pitcher, catcher and first basemen for two travel teams and logs on average 65 games a season.  This 12-year-old breaks records whether on the mound or on the plate-striking out more than 100 batters and hitting .500 last season.  That’s a lot of money batted in when he’s pledged to donate $2 for every base hit, $5 for every strikeout he pitches and $10 for every home run he hits.  If doing his best isn’t motivation enough, his best season thus far was last year when he dedicated it to the kids in the hospital.

All monies raised benefit the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation’s Give to Children and Child Life Programs, which aids ill children and their families while staying at the hospital and makes sure the child’s stay is fun and, according to Elliot, “not too scary.”  In the doctor-free zone, Child Life provides games, toys, video games, books and hosts events so the “kids can be kids and not just patients.”

Having been a patient himself, Elliot knows how important it is to have programs like the Child Life Program. Elliot was born with a club foot, and after being told he would never walk, Elliot underwent serious foot surgeries and procedures at the Pittsburg Children’s Hospital to correct his deformity.  Now that Elliot is better, he wants to give back to the hospital that helped him get on his feet and especially to the kids who are patients there.

In addition to raising money through his baseball performance, Elliot recruited the Altoona Curve, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Double-A affiliate to host a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital.  He sent letters to businesses seeking sponsorship and collected silent auction items and sold raffle tickets. That night he raised $800.  Elliot also encourages kids everywhere to donate crafts and become a pen pal to a patient at the hospital.

Elliot has received a lot of support from his community and even from major league relief pitcher Jason Grilli, who used his business website, Wild Pitch Marketing, to promote Elliot’s mission.  In addition to Elliot’s blog, he uses all forms of social media to promote his efforts.  He has a facebook profile, uses twitter and posts videos on youtube to network and share his mission to help kids in the hospital.   In the future he wants to design and sell t-shirts to help raise money.  He’s always thinking of ways to fundraise for the Child Life program.

In the United States, about 30 million children and teens participate in some form of organized sports, imagine how much money could be raised if all of us “pitched in and got involved,” by taking Elliot’s challenge this baseball season!

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