Cardinals players hit home runs outside the park too

Joseph Kenny |

Kelsey McCarthy, a fourth-grader at Good Shepherd School in Hillsboro, plays volleyball, basketball and soccer.

Now she definitely is into softball and baseball as well.

That's because she made the finals of the Homers for Health Home Run Derby Championships, held in Forest Park May 10, benefiting SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center. More than 900 people attended the event highlighted by Homers for Health co-chairs — and Cardinals baseball stars — Matt Holliday, David Freese and Allen Craig showing their thanks to the area schoolchildren who helped support Homers for Health by giving them some coaching in the batter's box.

"It's a good way to raise money and have a good time in a family setting," said Kelsey's mom, Pam McCarthy, who added her appreciation of the pro baseball players for donating their time.

Thirty-five area schools from St. Louis and Illinois participated in various Homers for Health fundraising activities. This year, 26 schools held a wiffle-ball home run derby contest, which advanced winners to the championships. The finals included 215 students ranging from 5-14 years old. Collectively, schools have raised in excess of $20,000 to date.

Mike Coulson, an eighth-grader from St. Jerome School in Troy, Ill., was a patient at Cardinal Glennon last summer and had surgery for an appendectomy. He was transferred there from a community hospital. He praised the care provided, the love shown and the reassurances from the staff.

Mike was glad to be able to give back to Cardinal Glennon. "It makes me feel as if I'm making a difference for people like me," he said.

Freese, interviewed after working with the students and posing for photos, said the smiles on their faces and the excitement they have is inspiring. He called the event a great opportunity to raise money for Cardinal Glennon and, for him, "a chance to step out of the baseball world and meet new people."

Holliday called the event "a way for us to give back and make some kids happy."

All three players had words of encouragement for the young sluggers. Craig, who worked with the youngest group of children, showed exceptional patience and kindness.

Matthew Frazer, a seventh-grader at St. Cletus School in St. Charles, said he loves playing baseball and also sees the importance of supporting children who come to the hospital. He praised the players for giving their time amid a busy schedule. "They're really good people," he said.

Pledges for Homers for Health are now at $2,774 per home run, with pledges coming in from 28 states, plus Washington D.C. Pledge forms are available at all Dierbergs and Johnny Macs Sporting Goods locations or pledges can be made online at

Kim Costa, supporting her daughter, Carlee, of Our Lady School in Festus, said she noticed that though most of the children at the event met for the first time, they easily worked together and encouraged each other.

The event is "good for the kids to help them get off the couch and stop playing video games," her husband, Randy Costa, said.

SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, a Catholic, nonprofit pediatric medical center in Midtown St. Louis, treats children from across the United States and from countries around the world. It is a member of SSM Health Care – St. Louis.

SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center is home to the Level I pediatric trauma center and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, both the highest available classifications. Other specialties include: cardiology, critical care, rehabilitation, pulmonology, minimally invasive surgery, fetal surgery, hematology/oncology, sleep disorders, weight management and others. SSM Cardinal Glennon provides poison control services, perinatal outreach programs and a distributed network of pediatric programs throughout Missouri and Illinois.

SSM Cardinal Glennon is a teaching hospital affiliated with the St, Louis University Schools of Medicine and Nursing and nine other educational institutions. For more information, go to and 

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