Once upon a time, I babysat a 3-year-old kid named Hazen. His family lived around the corner from me in Hell's Kitchen, and his regular babysitter was unavailable for the evening. In the only time I watched the child, I saw one who loved life and loved the joys of being alive. We played with blocks, we ran around the apartment, we had a blast enjoying and exploring his living environment. I don't have a single memory of Hazen without a smile on his face.
This world is cruel, and unfortunately for the kid and everyone who knew him, Hazen developed neuroblastoma, a deadly childhood cancer, soon after we met. He passed at the much too young age of 5. Scott Kennedy, Hazen's father, has since devoted his life to cancer research, uniting with another stricken family to form "Solving Kids' Cancer", one of the charities behind Sunday night's Ike Davis event.
"Solving Kids' Cancer was born out of two families in NYC coming together to create a new model charity," Scott says. "The passion was to make sure that no other families would have to go through what we went through. Both familes lost young children to (the deadly disease)...Hazen age 5, Penelope age 4. Solving Kids' Cancer is a results-oriented organization that tackles the biggest challenges in childhood cancer research. In the 5-years of operating, we have introduced 14 new experimental treatments for children with cancer."
The energy that is Hazen can clearly be seen when Scott speaks of his boy and the passion he had for what life has to offer, including the baseball team we all know and love.
"Hazen was and is gifted as a human being and lived as complete a 5-year life as one could ever imagine. He knew how to accept and give love throughout his entire life. Even before he became a cancer kid at age 3, his mom & I would get ready for sleep and pinch each other saying, 'Can you believe he is our child?' He would amaze us and thus he adopted the name Amazin' Hazen before, during and after being a cancer kid. Hazen laughed passionately and knew how to make others laugh (easily). On playdates with other kids and parents, often the other parents would end up hanging out with Hazen because he was such a joy to have in their presence.
"He was gifted at many things - playing board games, solving puzzles, math, music, running and being social. He was the class clown in preschool. Hazen became a Mets fan at age 3. He went to Shea his first time and walked into the seats just as David Wright lined a double like a laser right between left and center. From then on, Wright was his favorite. Hazen went to 6 Mets games in his life and learned to keep score. He loved Jose Reyes because he was fast. Hazen wore his Mets hat every day but ironically had a Robinson Cano autograph on the inside of his bill (he met Canoe at Sloan Kettering). Hazen is all about love and his life force infuses every cell of my body and numerous other people he has touched. His dream was to become a scientist so that he could discover something that would help kids live."
Ike Davis unfortunately lost a dear friend and college teammate to sarcoma, another deadly childhood cancer, and has united with Solving Kids' Cancer to help further research along.
"Ike aligned with us because he is passionate about helping the cause of childhood cancer...We are in awe of Ike because he walks-the-walk. He takes action and has been associated with our charity going on 3 years now. Both Solving Kids' Cancer and Ike were rookies when we joined forces and that is something special. We hope the Night with Ike and the other 13 Mets is all about fun and celebration. And of course, raising a lot of money for childhood cancer research."
"A Night with Ike Davis" will include a performance by Lee Brice, with Ike and some of his teammates guest bartending. I will be there helping out with the event as well. It will most assuredly be a fantastic evening. If you can join us, there are still tickets available. Please go to the website and purchase one. If you cannot be there, you can still make a pledge by tipping your favorite bartender (Ike, Lee Brice, or Justin Turner), or text "IKE" to 32020 to donate $10. Please visit the website to check out every way you can help out (The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative is involved in the event as well.)
Whatever can be contributed will be greatly appreciated.
Cancer is painful no matter what the age of the victim. There is certainly no reason, though, that a child like Hazen should have life taken away at such an early age. Research is getting better and better and every penny counts.
Please, join the cause.