When I played on the U-M softball team, I got involved in a program for student-athletes called Michigan From the Heart. In that program, U-M student-athletes met at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital every Thursday evening to visit patients and their families. It’s a big deal for the U-M sports teams, and we often rushed from practice on Thursdays so we could go.
We’d divide up so each group of student-athletes included a good mixture of athletes from different sports, and then we’d spread out around the hospital. It was an amazing experience and really opened my eyes to the struggles and the courage of these children and their families. My father died of cancer at the start of my junior year of college, after being in remission for 5 years, so cancer has also made a mark on my personal life.
After graduation, I was drafted to the USSSA Pride National Pro Fastpitch softball team. I wanted to continue to help Mott and raise funds, so I combined my love of softball with my passion for Mott and created FIGHT. We held our first “So You Think You Can Hit” event in 2012. I’m a fastpitch softball pitcher and over the years, I’ve heard many of my male friends brag how they could hit one of my pitches. I had them step up to the plate, make a donation and give it a shot.
For a minimum donation of $25, anyone can face me in the batter’s box. They get five pitches or three strikes. My pitches are the equivalent of a MLB pitch of 95 to 105 mph — so hitting them is not easy. To date, no one has been able to get a legitimate hit — even the most macho guys who stride up to the plate with all the confidence in the world. During my first event, we raised more than $1,000 in an hour. I quickly realized that So You Think You Can Hit is a great opportunity to raise money for Mott.
Now, I try to do the event as often as possible, usually in conjunction with one of my USSSA Pride games. My pitching teammates join in on the fun and face potential batters. During the events, we also sell FIGHT t-shirts and bracelets. If anyone ever gets a hit during a So You Think You Can Hit event, they’ll get a free t-shirt.
All the money we raise goes directly to the pediatric cancer unit at Mott Children’s Hospital. The floor manager decides what the unit needs to make the experience more comfortable for the patients and the families. There’s a teen activity room there that I’m hoping to help fix up to make it feel a little more like home.
I realize that I’m not a Desmond Howard who can donate millions of dollars to Mott, but I can do something to help make a difference. All of us can. Every penny we can raise makes a difference.
Take the next steps:
- Learn more about Jordan Taylor and FIGHT.
- Discover how you can play a part in the fight to Block Out Cancer.
- Learn more about the children’s cancer program at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
Jordan Taylor graduated from the University of Michigan in 2011 with a degree Literature, Science and the Arts. While at U-M, she was named Big 10 Pitcher of the Year in 2010 and set records in shutouts, strikeouts, saves and no hitters. A native of California, Taylor now plays for the USSSA Pride softball team and is a softball coach for Boston University.
Block Out Cancer is a rallying cry for people from all walks of life to come together to support the fight against children’s cancers. Everyone has a role to play. Learn more about how you can help Block Out Cancer.
University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” in 2014, and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine in 2013. In December 2011, the hospital opened our new 12-story, state-of-the-art facility offering cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.