True All Stars

by Heidi Schlumpf

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Don't get me wrong: I know how vital baseball is--even if the annual mid-summer All-Star game doesn't really count. But I hope some of you watching tonight noticed the 30 non-athletes who were honored before the game: everyday heroes who do more than swing a bat or catch a ball.

Among the so-called "People All-Stars Among Us" was a good friend of our family, Marci Schankweiler. Marci became a widow at a very young age, when her 30-year-old husband, Peter Bossow, died of testicular cancer. He was one of my husband's best friends. (Watch the video from tonight with Julia Roberts introducing here).

Just seven months before he died, Peter and Marci took a Caribbean trip where they had time to focus on their marriage without the intrusions of chemo and other treatments. Remembering that respite, Marci began an organization to offer the same type of get-aways to young adults fighting cancer. Since then, her organization, Crossing the Finish Line, has offered 800 cancer patients and 3,000 caregivers all-expense-paid vacations.

Standing on the field with her were parents who lost their child to a heart defect who now raise money for others with the disease, a shoe-shiner who donates all his tips to a local children's hospital and a 17-year-old who raises money to buy soccer equipment for disadvantaged kids overseas and at home.

Home-run hitters, all of them.

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