For 25 years now Nashville has been helping City of Hope strike out cancer. City of Hope is a research institution and cancer center where a team of scientists and physicians transform discoveries into better treatments and prevention strategies for people everywhere. Nashville’s way of supporting this life-saving cause is by it’s annual City of Hope Softball Game.
City of Hope CEO and President Robert Stone states, “the Celebrity Softball Game started in 1990 as a way to raise awareness of City of Hope’s lifesaving cancer care and research. Now, the game is an established part of the CMA Music Festival, one that draws intense interest and hundreds of fans every year.”
Each year the game brings together some of country music’s biggest stars, many of who have been affected in their own life. “City of Hope researches and treats and raises money for life threatening diseases like diabetes,” says Stephen Barker Liles of Love and Theft, “My band mate Eric has type 1 diabetes and I see first hand how intense living with it can be, so it hits close to home for us to help raise money for further research.”
Singer Lindsay Ell says she is playing in the game again this year because “it’s important to me to be able to give back any opportunity I can. Cancer has affected my family a lot over the past few years and I am so proud to be a part of everything City of Hope stands for.”
Also in this year’s lineup is Nashville native Stephen Bess, who received lifesaving treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia over two years ago at City of Hope. Bess and his stem cell donor, who lives nine time zones away, will meet for the first time before the game.
“The Celebrity Softball Game has given City of Hope a presence in the Nashville community that it might not otherwise have had, allowing us to introduce ourselves to people who may ultimately need our help in fighting cancer,” Stone mentions.
City of Hope has no doubt impacted our local Nashville community, but their research and treatments have reached far beyond. Stone says, “the technology behind synthetic human insulin and some of today’s top cancer drugs was developed at City of Hope, and today, we’re developing the next generation of immunotherapy treatments. The work we do at City of Hope doesn’t just help people at our center – it helps people everywhere.”
While the reason for the game is serious, the players still find a way to make the day fun. Veteran of the game Bucky Covington remarks, “I love that the game is relaxed and no one gets too serious or competitive ~ we are all here to have a great time and support City of Hope!” Singer JT Hodges says his favorite thing about the game is that “the softball doesn’t move as fast as a baseball, so I have a way better chance at hitting it!”