DENVER (CBS4) – Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke and UCHealth teamed up with the Colorado Rockies to get word out.
UCHealth invited former players from the Rockies, Nuggets and Avalanche to hit in a home run derby to raise money for stroke awareness, and CBS4’s Lauren Whitney was invited to participate.
“It was the longest and most nerve-wracking two minutes of my life,” Whitney said.
A dozen former pro athletes and five members from Denver television stations got together to swing for the fences.
The focus of the Healthy Swings Charity Home Run Derby was all about raising awareness and benefiting the National Stroke Association.
“A stroke is a medical emergency. We have treatments we can give for stroke but we have a very short amount of time to be able to give those treatments to try to minimize a stroke, so we’re here to spread the word about what a stroke looks like,” said Dr. Sharon Poisson, University of Colorado School of Medicine Associate Professor.
Several pro athletes stepped up to the plate. Some, like former Rockies outfielder Brad Hawpe, blasted long home runs. It all added up to big bucks for the organization and for individual charities.
“I’m playing for a charity called Win the Battle. Yesterday I lost a little buddy of mine, Cooper. It affects a lot of people that need this money and for what we’re raising it for. It makes me happy to be out here,” former Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs said.
Stroke survivors were also on hand to tell their stories and stress how important those early signs are.
“If I had known maybe a little bit more, maybe I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said stroke survivor Suzannah Preisendorf.
In the end, Nick Kosmider of The Denver Post won the media derby and Nuggets guard Malik Beasley won the athlete’s derby.