Saturday, May 5, 2012
Running More Than Bases
My mom used to tell me I learned how to run before I could ever walk. I think she meant that in both the literal and physical sense. As a young child I found myself chasing neighbors' dogs and leaping over fences in full stride, running around my house hitting everyone and everything in site with a piece of plastic Hot Wheels racetrack. Needless to say I was always running to or from someone or something.
When I turned three my dad had to bring me to my older brother’s t-ball practice since my mom worked late and he was the coach. I was instantly hooked on the game as if I had found my own personal form of heaven. Every aspect of the game engulfed every sense in my body. The feel of the ball connecting with the bat, the sound of the ball popping into a glove, not to forget the smell of the game or the taste of the dirt in your mouth when you slide headfirst into home plate.
Moving into my eighth grade year, baseball was my everything again. Morning, noon and night, I had blinders on to the rest of world. Then it hit for the third and final time. Mom was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in May of 2001. She fought with every ounce of strength she had left to make it through one more Christmas and passed away on December 26 that year. I can’t even really tell you much about the days, weeks and months after she passed. She would never see me play another game of baseball. She would never meet my wife, never hold my kids, and I would never get a hug from her again.
Time was irrelevant, and baseball was all I could hold onto to keep some sense of normalcy in my life. But after four college baseball programs, a contract in the Frontier Professional Baseball League, an invite to Spring Training with the Colorado Rockies and nearly 10 years of wondering why this happened to her, I decided to hang up my spikes for another dream—a dream that included baseball, but also cancer.
In October of 2011 I launched The Cure Baseball, Inc., a nonprofit organization that uses the game of baseball help raise support and awareness for all types of cancer. I wanted to bring my passion of baseball and my own life experiences with cancer together to simply give back. Whenever my mom was diagnosed, the communities we lived in (Zionsville, IN and Racine, WI) poured their hearts out to our family.
Since launching The Cure Baseball in October, we have been planning the first The Cure Baseball 5K Run/Walk in downtown Zionsville, Indiana. Zionsville is the town I remember my mom the best in, and since The Cure Baseball is headquartered in Indianapolis, it’s a perfect way to remember my mom and have an impact in a community that gave so much to me and my family.
I run now not to stretch singles into doubles or doubles into triples. As a matter of fact I don’t run bases at all anymore but rather I run to strengthen my mind, body and soul in my own personal pursuit to change the world and do my part in the fight to find a cure for all types of cancer.
My name is Alex Paluka, I’m 25 years old, and I run to...strengthen my mind, body and soul in my own personal pursuit to change the world and to do my part in the fight to find a cure for all types of cancer.
ALEX PALUKA is Founder and President of The Cure Baseball, Inc. Originally from Zionsville, Indiana, Alex has lived in six different states, attended five different colleges and has been an avid baseball player and fan since his toddler years. Since the passing of his mother on December 26th, 2001 from breast cancer, Alex has found a passion for giving back to people and families affected by all types of cancer. Alex enjoys the outdoors, pretty much all sports, and a good old challenge. If you would like to learn more about Alex’s story or The Cure Baseball please feel free to reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writer: Alex Paluka