Blue Jays Legends and Honda Canada to help Ben run the bases

The Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy in conjunction with Honda Canada and Whitby Minor Baseball Association will host a one day Honda Super Clinic on Sunday, July 20 at Iroquois Park in Whitby, Ontario. The clinic will serve as a fundraiser for the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery for 8 year old Ben Sheppard from Whitby. The clinic is sold out, with more than 420 players registered.

To date, more than $68,000 has been raised through clinic registrations fees and a matching financial contribution from Honda Canada. With additional funds raised by the Sheppard family, the Blue Jays are pleased to announce the $100,000 fund raising goal has been met. Ben Sheppard will receive his surgery.

Each participant attending the clinic will receive a Blue Jays t-shirt, Blue Jays Cap, and a Roberto Alomar 12 inch Pro Model baseball glove.   Instructors will be Blue Jays Alumni: Roberto Alomar, Alex Gonzalez, Tony Fernandez, Devon White, Lloyd Moseby, George Bell, Jesse Barfield, Carlos Delgado, Brian McRae, Duane Ward, and Nigel Wilson. The Blue Jays alumni will be donating their time to help with this initiative.

The Clinic will run from 9:00am-12:00pm, with a cheque presentation happening at noon. Interested members of the media are encouraged to attend the last hour of the clinic along with the cheque presentation at noon. Whitby Oshawa Honda will be hosting a post clinic barbeque for the 420 participants and family.

In addition, six Durham Region Boston Pizza restaurants will be donating 10% of any bill that has "BEN" written on the back of it on Sunday July 20. Participating restaurants located at 1899 Brock Road in Pickering, 8 Salem Road South in Ajax, 75 Consumers Drive in Whitby, 20 Taunton Road East in Whitby, 2372 Highway 2 in Bowmanville, and 951 Taunton Road East in Oshawa.

About Ben Sheppard:

Ben Sheppard is eight years old and loves everything baseball. His favourite team is the Toronto Blue Jays and his dream is to play on the big field one day; running the bases and catching balls like his heroes.

Ben was adopted at the age of 5 and lives with left hemiplegic spastic cerebral palsy. This condition causes a lot of tightness and spasticity in Ben's muscles, particularly on his left side. As a result, Ben experiences many challenges participating in daily activities that many of us take for granted; even something as simple as walking is a constant challenge for Ben.

As Ben gets older his ability to move is deteriorating. The tightness in Ben's muscles is preventing his bones from growly properly. This is very uncomfortable for Ben and often very painful. As a result Ben frequently falls and has been relying on his wheelchair to get around. In order to improve Ben's quality of life, he needs a surgery called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR). SDR is a relatively new surgery performed by the highly skilled, Dr. T.S. Park, most effectively at the St. Louis Children's Hospital. This surgery will release some of the tightness and spasticity in Ben's muscles, which will allow him to move around more freely.