Chairman, Natalie Niekro, of the 6th Annual Knuckle Ball…A Pitch for Life, on October 17th, at JW Marriott Desert Ridge, is pleased to announce some of this year’s participating athletes who will be honoring her father and former MLB pitcher, Joe Niekro while raising funds for brain aneurysm, AVM and hemorrhagic stroke research. Attending and mingling with the guests, to name a few, will be:
- Vince Coleman – MLB – 1985-1997 – 2x All-Star, NL Rookie of the Year and 6x Stolen Base Leader
- Tony Phillips – MLB – 1982-1999 – World Series Champion
- Tim Kempton – NBA – 1986-2000
- Steven Hunter – NBA – 2001-2011
- Nick Lowery – NFL -1978-1996
- Steve Ontiveros – MLB – 1985-2000
- Brandon Webb – MLB – 2003-2009 – 3x All-Star, NL Cy Young Award, 2x NL Wins Leader
- Cassie Gannis –Nascar
Since Joe Niekro’s tragic and sudden death in 2006, as a result of a brain aneurysm, his daughter, Natalie established The Joe Niekro Foundation, committed to aiding in the research and treatment of brain aneurysms, AVM’s and hemorrhagic strokes. The foundation strives to raise awareness about the risk factors, causes and treatments of these conditions, while helping support the advancement of neurological research.
The black-tie evening, appropriately named for the pitch that made Niekro famous, will be emceed by legendary radio personality, Dave Pratt, with Special Host, Actress and Brain Aneurysm Survivor, Tamala Jones will feature a festive reception, silent auction, formal dinner, event program, LIVE auction, musical entertainment and the opportunity to mingle with some of sports greatest legends (plus a few surprises in between). The gala, being hosted in Phoenix for the first time, is the foundation’s largest event of the year and pays tribute to those that have lost their lives to these fatal conditions, while honoring the survivors who are fighting everyday to recover.
Petrice “TC” Schuttler will be honored as the Joe Niekro Humanitarian of the Year for her outstanding commitment and contributions to the community and Dr. Joseph Zabramski will be recognized as the Joe Niekro Medical Humanitarian of the Year. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Barrow Neurological Institute.
As many as one in fifteen Americans will develop a cerebral aneurysm or AVM; 10-15% of these individuals will die before reaching the hospital and over 50% will die within the first thirty days after rupture. Of those who survive, over half suffer permanent neurological deficit. For more info, visit www.joeniekrofoundation.com/events/knuckleball.