UCHealth donates $98,700 to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, thanks to nearly a dozen Denver Broncos players hitting baseballs for charity

UCHealth’s Healthy Swings: Charity Home Run Derby, in its 3rd year, brings together professional athletes and local media for a good cause: fund blood cancer research.
June 12, 2019


man swinging a bat at Coors Field
UCHealth brought together Denver Broncos players and local media personalities on Tuesday to take a swing for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), the largest nonprofit dedicated to creating a world without blood cancers. UCHealth donated $98,700 to support LLS. Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb takes a swing for the fences.

UCHealth contributed $98,700 on Tuesday to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Rocky Mountain Chapter at its third annual Healthy Swings: Charity Home Run Derby at Coors Field. Denver Broncos long snapper Casey Kreiter personally donated the remainder to bring the grand total to $100,000.

This year, UCHealth brought together Denver Broncos players currently on the roster and local media personalities to take a swing for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), the largest nonprofit dedicated to creating a world without blood cancers.

“Teaming up with the Broncos and the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field to raise money for this important cause demonstrates our focus on helping people live healthy, extraordinary lives,” said Manny Rodriguez, UCHealth’s chief marketing and experience officer. “On July 8, 2000, I was diagnosed with Chronic myeloid leukemia. Thanks to the amazing efforts of LLS, I am alive today. They are funding research to develop treatments that helped save my life and millions of other people. As a blood cancer survivor myself, I can attest to the great work achieved by LLS and its impact on the future of cancer treatment through research.”

LLS funds innovative research conducted by the University of Colorado Cancer Center that has led to breakthrough treatments now available at UCHealth. These treatments are leading to significant response and even cure rates for what had, until recently, been considered highly deadly forms of leukemia and lymphoma.

UCHealth donates $98,700 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Rocky Mountain Chapter.
UCHealth donates $98,700 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Rocky Mountain Chapter. , L-R: Broncos fullback Andy Janovich; UCHealth Chief Marketing and Experience Officer Manny Rodriguez; Manny’s son, Tomas; Jana Bearden, Sr. Vice President, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; and Colorado Rockies Mascot Dinger.

“We’ve seen incredibly promising response rates for these newest treatments of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), with many patients experiencing complete remissions that are deep and durable,” said Dr. Daniel Pollyea, a hematologist/oncologist at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital on theAnschutz Medical Campus and associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “Research in this area has led us to a dramatic shift in how we care for patients, and that is a result of the research largely funded by LLS.”

Each participant in today’s derby was given up to two minutes to hit baseballs, working to hit a set of targets in the outfield, hit a home run or just make contact between the bat and baseball. For every hit made, UCHealth donated varied amounts on each target to LLS to help support blood cancer research. Broncos fullback Andy Janovich took home the winner’s trophy with his swings, including home runs and the UCHealth “Hit the Mitt” target in left field resulting in an additional $5,000 donation. Casey Kreiter and Brandon McManus also hit home runs.

“LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer – our mission is to cure blood cancers and improve the quality of life of patients and their families,” said Beth Muehlethaler, executive director for LLS, Rocky Mountain Chapter. “Today’s fun event not only raises money but also awareness. We are proud to partner with UCHealth and honored the health system has chosen LLS to raise money for research to one day cure blood cancers.”

Participants at the event included:

  • Emmanuel Sanders, wide receiver
  •  Justin Simmons, safety
  •  Bradley Chubb, linebacker
  • Brandon McManus, placekicker
  • Courtland Sutton, wide receiver
  •  Royce Freeman, running back
  • Andy Janovich, full back
  • Kareem Jackson, cornerback
  • Casey Kreiter, long snapper
  • Shamarko Thomas, safety

Several media personalities participated in a media-specific derby beforehand as well, including representatives from 9News, Denver7, CBS4, FOX 31, KOA and the NFL Network. Brandon Krisztal from  KOA took home the media trophy.

Each year for UCHealth’s Healthy Swings: Charity Home Run Derby, the health care system selects a local nonprofit as the beneficiary. Last year, UCHealth and the derby benefited the Gold Crown Foundation, a Colorado nonprofit that supports over 20,000 boys and girls annually through youth sports and education programs. The year before, in the event’s inaugural year, UCHealth donated to the National Stroke Association.

In addition to UCHealth’s $98,700 donation to LLS for this year’s Healthy Swings, the health care system has also chosen to benefit LLS throughout the entire baseball season via a partnership with the Colorado Rockies. Every time Rockies players hit a home run that hits the UCHealth “Hit the Mitt” sign at Coors Field, UCHealth will donate $5,000 to LLS.