Senior pitcher Joey Bock throws a pitch against Oglethorpe University (Ga.) on Feb. 25. (Natalie Sandlow / Staff Photographer)

The Emory University baseball team collaborated with the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory in an initiative to raise money for the fight against cancer and bring awareness to cancer’s impact on victims and their families around the world. The team raised money and encouraged families to pledge a dollar amount every time an Emory pitcher recorded a strikeout in University Athletic Association (UAA) conference games.

In an email to the wheel, senior pitcher Aaron Mishoulam noted that the team notched 118 strikeouts, fundraising $3,032 from a total of nine people. UAA play ended for the team with their 15th conference title on April 22.

Mishoulam started the initiative last year after cancer directly impacted his family, with loved ones battling the disease. For Mishoulam, spearheading the initiative is “something that’s close to [his] heart.”

“Everyone knows someone who either has a family friend who’s affected by someone battling cancer or has battled cancer,” Mishoulam said. “With my personal background, losing family members, I know how hard it can be for some people.”

Mishoulam learned that he had his teammates as a support group who can promote and push the initiative forward, which he said has brought the team closer to one another.

“They really do care about helping other people,” Mishoulam said. “I thought originally that I was going to have to reach out to a lot of people on my own, but my teammates have helped me a lot.”

Senior outfielder Henry Pelinski said that even though the team is competitive, the players treat one another as “family.”

‘The most important thing is the family that we’ve put together on the field,” Pelinski said. “We’re not playing only for wins, but to get back to a good cause and help support everyone within the Emory baseball family through this initiative.”

When asked what people can do to spread awareness about cancer, Mishoulam said that spreading information to at-risk populations, bringing awareness and giving proper information can be incredibly beneficial in educating the public about the disease.

Associate Director of Development for Campus Life and Athletics Garrett Webb was proud to see the Emory community come together and support the cause. 

“It speaks volumes about the student population at Emory and just the individuals that come to school [here],” Webb said. “They’re never looking within a certain silo or within a certain group but looking to impact a broader community and make change.”

Webb and the players hope that Emory’s Strikeout Cancer campaign will continue to grow, even after Mishoulam and Pelinksi graduate this year. The seniors hope that they will leave behind a long-lasting impact on not only the Emory baseball team and community, but also throughout society and the millions of families impacted by cancer.

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Samir Ajy (he/him) (24C) is from Atlanta, Georgia and is majoring in political science on a pre-law track. In his free time, Samir enjoys watching sports, playing ultimate frisbee and watching comedy-based movies.