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Mets former pitcher Nelson Figueroa does more than just give back

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Sep 27, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A cap and glove sits in the New York Mets dugout during a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. The Mets won 8-1. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sport
Sep 27, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A cap and glove sits in the New York Mets dugout during a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. The Mets won 8-1. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sport
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At his charity event on Monday night, former Mets pitcher Nelson Figueroa talked about a charity that means a lot to him, and of course the 2017 Mets season.

Chai Lifeline is an amazing organization whose motto is to “treat illness with kindness.” They work to help children with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses such as Muscular Dystrophy fight these diseases while providing them with experiences they otherwise would not be able to have.

Their range of helping varies from crisis intervention to hospital services to family weekend retreats and so much more. They even have their own summer camp, Camp Simcha, which is completely tailored to the needs of children, allowing them to have a summer camp experience they normally wouldn’t be able to have.

I spoke to the father of a young woman named Peri Finkelstein, who suffers from a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy and is wheelchair bound (the same disease my brother has, so as you can imagine, this is quite dear to my heart).

Peri is actually the reason Nelson Figueroa became involved in the organization…..and it all started at a Mets game back in 2009 when Peri was just about nine years old. She had made a bracelet  to give to her favorite player at the time, David Wright. Unfortunately she did not get to chat with Wright. Instead, Figueroa was near where her and her family were standing during batting practice and they got to talking. Peri proceeded to give him a bracelet. Unfortunately, they fell out of touch.

Last year, however, this all changed. Peri amazingly walked the Miami Marathon on a ventilator and her brother reached out to Figueroa via his Facebook page. Figueroa not only remembered Peri but was so inspired and emotional from seeing this video of her walking that he invited them to SNY. Now he’s doing the half marathon with the family, including Peri, who is planning on walking a mile.

Anyone can just write out a check to an organization, but it takes a special type of person to participate in fundraising events alongside the children it’s benefiting.

On Monday, Figueroa held a charity bowling event at Lucky Strike in Manhattan to raise awareness, funds, and love for Chai Lifeline and the half marathon that he’s doing with the Finkelstein family.

There was plenty of celebrity support at this event, including David Mazouz, Willie Colon, Jerry Todisco, Robert Clohessy, Bruce Beck, and more. Of course there was plenty of Mets love there as well from John Franco and Jim Duquette. Here’s just a glimpse at some pictures:

Additionally, auction items included autographed cleats donated by David Wright as well as a special meet & greet with him, tickets to sit with The 7 Line, a meet & greet with Jeurys Familia, and much more.

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Thank you, Nelson, for hosting a great event and opening my eyes to an amazing organization. And thank you to 3PT Sports Management for putting on the event. CEO Zack Charles had the following to say:

"Chai lifeline is a great organization that helps a ton of children and I am honored that we were able to help throw an event and raise money for such a great cause."

For all of you that couldn’t attend but still want to support, I highly recommend you look more into Chai Lifeline. Additionally, you can bid on these great auction items — Mets specific ones and non-Mets specific ones — by clicking here.

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