ROXBURY, NJ - Major League pitchers and catchers reported for their first workouts last week, one sign that baseball season is on its way. Another: The beginning of Roxbury High School student Landon Monro's annual effort to register players and sponsors for his anti-cancer baseball tournament.
The 5th Annual Landon Monro Stand Up to Cancer tournament will take place on May 20. Monro, a sophomore who lives in Succasunna, said his tournaments have so far raised more than $20,000 for cancer research.
The 15-year-old catcher for the Roxbury Gaels is charging $25 per person to those interested in playing in the tournament, which will take place at the Righter Road baseball fields. He is also seeking contributions from non-players.
"Any and all donations in lieu of playing are greatly appreciated," Monro said. The RSVP date is May 12.
RSVPs including the names of players, their ages and grade level, can be emailed to Monro's mother, Dayna at firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks, payable to Stand Up to Cancer, can be sent to Dayna Monro, 12 Meredith Ct., Succasunna, NJ 07876.
Although the tournament is meant for kids, those over 18 "are welcome to sign up and play in a softball game," Monro said.
Inspired to Help
The first tournament took place in 2014. Monro got the idea while watching a Los Angeles Angels game on TV where fans held signs that bore the names of people with cancer. The event was promoted by Stand Up to Cancer, a non-profit group that provides grants for innovative cancer research.
Having lost loved ones to cancer, Monro was inspired by that and wanted to help. With assistance from his mother, he contacted Stand Up to Cancer and - with cooperation from the Roxbury Baseball Association - took the steps needed to launch the tournament. The first one raised about $3,000.
"My passion for baseball was the driving force in coming up with this event," says Monro in fundraising letter. "I am once again looking for your support and participation as I begin planning my fifth annual Landon Monro Tournament! Let's get the word out there that Roxbury Stands Up To Cancer!"
Monro noted the games are fun and non-competitive and that all donations benefit Stand Up To Cancer.
"Last year was his 4th annual tournament and, unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate," said Monro's mother. "But we had to stick with the original date because of Landon’s (baseball) showcase schedule. Although the turnout wasn’t as large as Landon would have liked, the donations and sponsors were great. I believe last year he raised under $8,000, slightly less than the previous year. But those donations brought him to over $20,000 raised in just four years. We are all very proud of that."
Monro said four years of tournament promotion have increased his confidence and ability to work with adults. "It's definitely a lot easier now," he said.
"I believe this annual tournament has taught Landon how to sell something that you are passionate about," said his mother. "I think it has taught him the power and value of giving of yourself to help others. You are never too young to make an impact and a difference."
She said the tournament "takes many, many hours to put together," noting it requires emails to Stand Up 2 Cancer, making flyers, calling, emailing and meeting with prospective sponsors. "He makes it all work even with his travel baseball team, high school team, school work and time for himself," she said.