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Camp Sundown visits the Yankees
August 14, 2009 12:20 PM   Subscribe

"The Yankees' best game this season came after the lights were dimmed."

On July 24th, the New York Yankees hosted Camp Sundown in the Bronx -- a group of kids with xeroderma pigmentosum (XP). XP is a life-threatening sun-sensitivity disorder, in which DNA cannot repair damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) light. Kids with the disease develop malignant melanomas and carcinomas if they are exposed to sunlight or bright fluorescent lights.
"Camp Sundown gets its name because the youngsters that attend cannot go outdoors during the daytime or even stand under fluorescent lights because ultraviolet radiation, any UV radiation, is their mortal enemy. It will give them severe burns, it will give them squamous cell skin cancer, it will cause malignant tumors to grow in their eyes and mouths, and make many of them blind as their condition reaches its late stages. The sun and blue skies we wish for in spring and summer will cruelly ravage their bodies.

The kids, these fragile, beautiful kids, who want nothing more than to be whatever we like to call ordinary in this world, are afflicted with a genetic condition called Xeroderma Pigmentosum that takes the lives of most people with the disorder before they reach the age of 20. It is rare, so rare there are only between 150 and 250 sufferers in this country, maybe two or three thousand around the world."

For more information, see the XP Society, and their Camp Sundown page. The NJ Star-Ledger site has a video of the event.
posted by zarq (39 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Wow -- I guess the Yankees aren't 100% evil. Thanks for this post -- great event.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 12:26 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


wow, thats incredible
posted by Addiction at 12:31 PM on August 14, 2009


I read this last night. It's most awesome.
posted by grubi at 12:32 PM on August 14, 2009


The advent of Xenon headlights in high end cars has supposedly limited their ability to go out at night as well. That would be a tough moral decision to make, since I think those headlights are pretty cool. Fortunately, I don't have to wrestle with that right now.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:34 PM on August 14, 2009


Awesome story.

From the Deep In The Red blog (which appears to be an official blog of the YES Network): "After a decade or more of being stalled by the politics of ignorance, changes in stem cell research legislation has made genetic therapy for XP sufferers a real possibility." Kind of interesting how they allowed that "politics of ignorance" statement in there. I'm not saying it's not true, just surprised that it made it through whatever editors might exist on a network-sanctioned blog.
posted by brandman at 12:39 PM on August 14, 2009


I'm a Mets fan.

This is awesome. Thanks.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:44 PM on August 14, 2009


I never realised that a side effect of having a baby of my own would mean that any story about sick kids would make me bawl.

Self-centered, yeah. But damn, I guess I'll ratchet down my Yankees hate for a while. That's awesome.
posted by gaspode at 12:47 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


That broke down every single blockade in my mind that told me to continue hating the Yankees...and Rick Reilly.

How cool.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 12:47 PM on August 14, 2009


Over the years Reilly has gradually morphed into the Dave Barry of sportswriting, only with extra moralizing on the side, and pretty much everything he writes makes me want to barf. But this is a nice little story, and good on the Yanks for making it happen.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:51 PM on August 14, 2009


Ok, you've got me on this one.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:53 PM on August 14, 2009


Good PR move. If Hitler had done this, maybe he wouldn't be so reviled. In fact, I'm positive he wouldn't be because everyone here's applauding this and yet Derek Jeter is worse than Hitler.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:00 PM on August 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Incredible story. I wonder if the advent of LEDs will make life easier for people with XP in the future (assuming we get past the current droop issues), since they tend to emit only a specific range of wavelengths.
posted by spiderskull at 1:05 PM on August 14, 2009


Obama's national health care reform would make this a weekly event.

True story.
posted by djgh at 1:06 PM on August 14, 2009


Wow. That story is now swimming hard against the tide of "The Yankees are evil" feelings in me, and it's winning.

I still want the Yankees to lose every game they play. But I have a lot more respect for them than I did before.
posted by cerebus19 at 1:09 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Boy, do you guys suck at hating the Yankees.
posted by escabeche at 1:19 PM on August 14, 2009


I'm a Mets fan.

Me too. Normally, I hate the Yankees.

This story though... I have to admit that they're pretty awesome for doing this. They could have just given them the press suite seats, you know? Instead, after playing a long game against the A's, they pulled out all the stops.

I never realised that a side effect of having a baby of my own would mean that any story about sick kids would make me bawl.

Neither did I.
posted by zarq at 1:23 PM on August 14, 2009


I'm a Yankees fan.

This is beautiful. Thanks for posting it. I remember the rain delay while watching that game and how it took forever to resume, but now I'm glad it did.
posted by cmgonzalez at 1:31 PM on August 14, 2009


Good God damn, there's something in my eye. And it ain't xenon lighting.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:37 PM on August 14, 2009


Um, well I'm a life-long, third-generation Yankee fan and I knew about this weeks ago. In fact, this was only one event in a week of public service events the Yankees ran. They called it Hope Week, and it was chronicled on Peter Abraham's indispensable LoHud Yankees Blog, as well as elsewhere.

I don't understand why people hate the Yankees for being fortunate and -- sometimes -- good. Then again I don't expect Red Sox fans to understand why I hate Dustin Pedroia. That's baseball. But this year's Yankee team is very good and has good character. Now that George Steinbrenner has retreated into senescence, the team is finally starting to use its resources intelligently and may be good for a long time to come.
posted by thebergfather at 1:41 PM on August 14, 2009


I hate Rick Reilly.

This is awesome. Thanks.
posted by Arch_Stanton at 1:41 PM on August 14, 2009


Good PR move. If Hitler had done this, maybe he wouldn't be so reviled. In fact, I'm positive he wouldn't be because everyone here's applauding this and yet Derek Jeter is worse than Hitler.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:00 PM on August 14 [+] [!]


Really?

I guess there are only two ways to explain this comment.

1. You have never heard of Godwin's Law.

2. You are, in fact, Rush Limbaugh, and have no idea when its appropriate to compare anyone to Hitler.

Either way, quit being a jackass.
posted by ben242 at 1:42 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


A couple of things I left out of the post.

Every Yankee player attended the event, including manager Joe Girardi.

The Team donated $10,000 to Camp Sundown. The sponsorship covers the camp's expenses while they're open for an entire week in October.
posted by zarq at 1:43 PM on August 14, 2009


Am I the only Yanks fan on the Blue?

They're fantastic for doing this, though I think they could have easily donated more than 10k to Camp Sundown. I mean this is a big event in and of itself, but 10k seems more like a pittance than anything else.

Still, doesn't demean the fact that they're a great group of guys who did a phenomenal thing for these folks.
posted by Mali at 1:54 PM on August 14, 2009


I was born, raised & live in the UK, don't really care for baseball* and I hate the Yankees. However, I can let that go for a little while.

Ooop. It's back.

* Or more accurately, don't have time in my already full to the brim sport-watching schedule for such a time-sucking pastime.
posted by i_cola at 1:57 PM on August 14, 2009


Red Sox fan here . . . but at the end of the day it's just baseball and we're all just people (with problems and diseases and feelings). This is a great one--thanks for the post!
posted by eggman at 2:02 PM on August 14, 2009


ben242, you're worse than Hitler, Pol Pot and Jorge Posada combined.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:20 PM on August 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Wow -- 10% worse than Jorge Posada is pretty bad.
posted by escabeche at 2:56 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]



I never realised that a side effect of having a baby of my own would mean that any story about sick kids would make me bawl.


For what it's worth, I don't even have kids and I was getting choked up.
posted by kalimac at 3:35 PM on August 14, 2009


Man, this would be the best thing about being a pro-sports player. I mean, imagine how cool it would be to bring that kind of experience to kids just because of who you are.
Money's fine, but that's such a gift to be able to do that for a kid who so obviously needs something like that.
Hell, you'd probably never get me out of the children's ward at the hospital.
"Oh look kids! It's Smedleyman! The famous ball player, he's come to visit you!"
"Oh...yeah....that's nice."
"What's wrong? Don't you like him? You've got a poster of him right there."
"Yeah...it's just, well, he was here yesterday. And the day before. And last week he brought tacos for lunch, let us drive his car, stay at his house. My brother spend all day jumping on his couch while we played nerf hoops. I think he left his keys here on purpose the other day."
"Hi kids! Anyone seen my keys?"

I mean, man, that's what it's all about. You think some guy with some fantasy baseball deal going or some rich dude up in the skybox impressing some bimbo is anywhere near that kind of fan?
Look at Babe Ruth - at hot dogs all day, drank beer, ran around with women, cheated on his wife, showed up late or blew off games, but he'd make the time for the kids and charity stuff.
Seems to me the kids were the ones doing these guys the favor.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:39 PM on August 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


As the other commenters said, this makes it really hard to hate the Yankees.

Good on them.
posted by Danf at 3:52 PM on August 14, 2009


You're making it really, really hard for me to hate the Yankees.

I'm just betting that each player ran over a box of puppies on his way to the event. Really, really adorable puppies.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:55 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, this comment in the lead article makes me want to throw things:

Feel sorry for them if you want, but they have one thing most kids will never have: For one night, the Yankees' field was theirs.

MOST KIDS CAN GO ONTO ANY BASEBALL FIELD LIKE, EVER. IN DAYLIGHT. MOST KIDS GET TO GO OUTDOORS. I THINK THAT BEATS BEING AT YANKEE'S STADIUM THE ONCE.

MY FEELINGS ARE SO STRONG THAT ONLY CAPS LOCK CAN CONTAIN THEM, AND EVEN THAT, I AM SORRY TO SAY, IS NOT QUITE CUTTING IT.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:00 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I guess there are only two ways to explain this comment.

You forgot one.

3. You are a proud member of Red Sox Nation and the only word possibly dirtier than "Voldemort" in your vocabulary is "Jeter."

Also, worse than Jorge Posada? Like, to look at? Man, there's a reason that guy plays catcher. You see him without a mask and it's like looking into the deepest abyss of human ugliness. No one should have to see that, not even other Yankees.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:01 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why people hate the Yankees for being fortunate and -- sometimes -- good.

(Never mind having infinite reserves of cash, but I digress...)

Batman needed the Joker.
Superman needed Lex Luthor.
Ripley needed the Alien.
Kirk needed KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!

In order to be measured as truly virtuous, you must first be proven against true evil. Imagine if the Sox had come back from 3-0 against... Seattle? Oakland? Cleveland? (What kind of a sick sad sack hates Cleveland?) Who'd've remembered Mazeroski's '60 7th-game 9th-inning series-winning homer if it'd been against, um, Baltimore? (Okay, a lot of Pirates fans, and quite a few Orioles faithful, but...) And how much sweeter was it that the only series Brooklyn won was against the hated Bombers?

Yeah, the Yanks win. A lot. They're supposed to. In other sports (including my beloved hockey) it's like they throw the team names in a big drum at the beginning of the year and last year's champ is this year's doormat, and vice versa. It was more fun when the (spit) Cowboys (spit) were cold-bloodedly efficiently Staubachly Tom-Landry's-fedoraphilicalistically excellent for decades, to see them knocked off by previously perennial doormats (San Francisco! Philadelphia! Washington!). In baseball the Yanks are that final mountain to climb, that last dragon to slay, that ultimate boss on the final level. AND WE WOULD'VE BEATEN THE BASTARDS IN '94 AND SAVED THE GODDAMN FRANCHISE oh I give up.

And 3 a.m. games with sick kids is truly awesome. Kudos Hated Yanks.
posted by hangashore at 4:20 PM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


And I keep thinking of my friend Jason Zillo and the 14 years it took him to make this night happen.

"I saw one little girl," he said afterward, exhausted. "When the centerfield wall opened and the whole carnival started coming out -- she just started jumping up and down, over and over. She wouldn't stop, she was so excited. People wanted to thank me. But that's all I needed."


Why hasn't anyone in this thread mentioned Jason Zillo yet? And if that last paragraph didn't make you cry, nothing will.
posted by mediareport at 4:45 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's an eleven year old NPR story about Camp Sundown. It's stuck with me for that long, so when I saw this post I had to dig it up.
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:35 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Yankees are evil and I do hate them. But this h append after the game was over, when they took off their uniforms and became normal people who cared. I have nothing but respect for the players, I'm glad that the Yankees did this and I wish more teams would take notice. Its easy for teams and players to write a check for these causes, but taking time out to meet and play with the kids means more to them at the time then the money.
posted by lilkeith07 at 10:32 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


A nudder cit'zen of Red Sox nation, heah.

But, good on the Damn Yankees, for doing good in the dark. And good on you, zarq, for bringing the Pin Striped Bastards, and these kids, in this remarkable event, to our attention.
posted by paulsc at 2:46 AM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


They're obviously trying to curry favour with Jesus.
posted by i_cola at 5:57 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


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