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Lifelong Twins Fan Eric Powell’s First Pitch… for Prevention

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by Eric Powell, advocate with Fight Colorectal Cancer

When I arrived in D.C. for Call-on Congress in March, other advocates started telling me about a TWINS event taking place in July with Fight Colorectal Cancer. My ears perked up when I heard “Twins” and immediately I said “Sign me up!” I’m a HUGE fan.

Growing up with the Twins

eric-powell-twins-fanLong before I had cancer I was a sports fan and I loved going to baseball games with my dad or with other family and friends. I remember going to my first Twins game when they played at Metropolitan Stadium which is now the Mall of America site.

In the early 80′s, the Metrodome was built in the downtown area. The Metrodome received many bad reviews as a sports stadium but it was there and you could get a “Dome-dog” or two and catch a game in the GA section for less than $5! Also, the Dome gave the TWINS an advantage. Because of the artificial turf, the ball would take funny hops which would result in the visitors getting errors and costing them the game. When filled to capacity, the Dome would get very loud, another disadvantage and distraction for the away team when trying to communicate on the field of play.

After 25 years under the Dome lights the Twins moved into a new ballpark on the other end of the city to play under the stars! Many who have entered the gates of Target Field have left saying it’s one of the best ballparks in America to watch a game! I can actually claim that I was at the final game at the Dome and the first game at Target Field!

For much of the last few seasons there hasn’t been much to cheer for as the team has made several changes in the lineup over the course of a season due to injuries or trying to start young players before they are ready. This year, thus far, has been different and once again they are relevant in the end of June and fun to watch!

In my lifetime the Twins have won two World Championships, the most recent in 1991! Both times the Twins were the underdogs going into the series. The Twins have had up and down years and come close to winning their division, but ultimately came up short in the first round of playoffs. They are hungry to recapture the “glory” days – as are the fans. You could say that the Twins have faced a lot of adversity much like I did in 2007 when I was diagnosed with colon cancer.

eric-powell-colon-cancer-advocateThe Twins and Cancer

I was diagnosed with colon cancer in May of 2007 which meant I would get chemo and radiation in June and July, followed by a month break before surgery in September. I wasn’t able to attend games in person that year but you can bet that if I wasn’t at a game, I tuned in on the radio or by television. That’s the case even now – I follow the team and every game.

When I returned home from D.C. this past March, I was excited to tell people back home about the Twins event that involved colon cancer awareness. And then, I received a phone call. It was Fight CRC asking me to throw out the first pitch. I was filled with excitement! I thought, “What an honor it is to throw the first pitch in front of the team I have rooted for come Hell or high water for 41 years!” I was ecstatic and speechless! Honestly, words can’t describe how thrilled I am of all the people who could have been selected – that I was chosen to represent Fight CRC and the entire colorectal cancer community. It’s amazing!

On July 21, I will take the mound and stomp on the rubber, throw a strike to home and maybe meet a few players as well.

Baseball is considered to be America’s pastime and I have been a fan for 41 years. I can’t wait to take in a ballgame and have an opportunity to share my cancer story at the same time. That’s what it’s all about!As I stand on the field while my bio is read and my story reaches 25 new people who haven’t been screened yet – that’s what this night is all about. Saving lives one game at a time!

Eric Powell is a stage III colon cancer survivor from New Richmond, Wisconsin. He remembers walking through the State Fair in 2006, experiencing symptoms that led to his diagnosis at age 34 seven months later. After undergoing chemo, radiation and surgery, he is now 7 years cancer-free. Eric is involved with the nonprofit Fight Colorectal Cancer and traveled Washington, D.C. last March to lobby Congress as an advocate. He’s committed to raising awareness and encouraging others to get screened.

More…

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