Cano, Robertson have charities honored in TrentonBoth men receive $25k from Thunder team doctor's MVP Foundation
Instead, it was Cano and Robertson the humanitarians being honored, as both were given $25,000 for their respective charitable foundations by Thunder team chiropractor Dr. Thomas Haveron and his MVP Foundation.
The presentations were one of the centerpieces of MVP’s second annual event at Waterfront Park in Trenton, and Cano and Robertson joined several former Yankees – including Jim Leyritz, Roy White, and Oscar Gamble – and a host of other sports personalities for the ceremonies, as well as a meet and greet with other MVP honorees and special guests, prior to and during the Thunder’s game against the Harrisburg Senators.
For Robertson, who started the High Socks For Hope Foundation with wife Erin as a means to help those affected by the devastating tornadoes that hit David's hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama last April, the event was especially poignant, as it’s the Yankees’ “Houdini” himself who looks down upon the Thunder’s home digs from a High Socks For Hope billboard in left field.
David kickstarted the High Socks for Hope efforts by pledging $100 for every strikeout he recorded last season, and the MVP Foundation’s generous gift will go a long way towards continuing to help those in his home state.
“Doc Haveron and the MVP Foundation have really helped us a lot, and when he asked us to come down here I was more than happy to do it. To come back for a day like this is really a lot of fun,’’ Robertson said. “We’ve raised a lot of money, and it's a great feeling to come back here and say thanks."
Both men played for the Thunder on their way through the Yankees organization, and Cano made a visit in 2006 while on an injury rehab – but their appearance at the MVP event marked the first time that active Yankees had appeared in Trenton in a non-rehab capacity.
Like his teammate, Cano, whose RC24 Foundation benefits disadvantaged youth in the Dominican Republic and works with terminally-ill children here in the U.S., jumped at the chance to be a part of the event.
“It’s all about helping kids that really need it,’’ Cano said. “Especially with a great man like Doc Haveron. It's great to be here and to see how he helped that girl out with her scholarship...that's what it's all about.”
The girl Cano referenced is Mabel Mayorga, a central New Jersey native whose father was paralyzed in a car accident. It was a tragic life event that may have precluded her family from sending her to medical school, but Mabel’s story was also one of the impetuses for Haveron to build the MVP Foundation.
The doctor lost both of his parents at an early age – his father passed away when he was an infant, and his mother succumbed to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was four years old – and after dedicating his life to giving back, he officially founded Medicine Via Philanthropy in 2011.
“I was blessed many times over; so many people stepped up to raise me with my parents died, everyone took my hand. It takes a village. It’s the way I was raised,” Haveron told nj.com last year after the Foundation’s first annual event.
One year later, he joined Cano, and Robertson on the field Thursday night to present Mayorga with a check for $50,000 to help pay for her second year of med school – and as a lifelong Yankees fan, Doc Haveron was thrilled to have two of the team’s finest on hand to help him make the presentation.
“Trenton means a lot to me, the Yankees mean a lot to me, and Robinson and David have been friends of mine for quite some time,” Haveron said. "They're tremendous players, but they're also tremendous human beings; they're both about helping their communities, so I want to commend them both on what they do as players, but also on what they do as people."
Of course, the event did have one hitch, as rain forced the postponement of the actual Thunder-Senators game – but thanks to the generosity of the MVP Foundation, the night was a huge victory for Mayorga, Cano, Robertson, and all the lives their own foundations have touched.
“We're very fortunate," Robertson said, "and we can keep trying to make a difference for as long as we can."