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Arizona Baseball player donates NIL earnings to Diamond Children’s Hospital

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 5:40 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -University of Arizona baseball player Tyler Casagrande spends a lot of his time on the baseball diamond, but he knows there are too many kids that spend months inside the oncology unit at Diamond Children’s Medical Center.

“It was kind of crazy seeing like that’s where people wake up everyday and live their life every single day,” said Casagrande.

When college athletes began profiting off of their name, image and likeness, Casagrande knew he wanted his profits to go directly to kids in the hospital fighting cancer. So he got to work, creating a shirt and sweatshirt.

“It says big house so for my last name, Casagrande, and a picture of me swinging.” said Casagrande. “When I put a picture out of the shirts I said all my proceeds would go to pediatric cancer.”

The proceeds allowed him to donate $10,000 to the pediatric oncology unit, a cause that hits home.

“I had two friends that lost their lives to cancer growing,” said Casagrande. “My aunt still has cancer.”

That led his parents to start their own non-profit benefiting kids fighting cancer. Now, Tyler is following in their footsteps.

“One of the biggest hardships our families face when having a child diagnosed with cancer is the financial burden,” said Taylor Underwood, with Banner UMC.

She works face-to-face with kids fighting cancer and their families. She says a simple “thank you” won’t express the difference Casagrande’s donation will make.

“We really love being able to come along side and help them simple things a tank of gas, a grocery bill those are things that can add up quickly,” said Underwood.

The $10,000 will help take some of the financial burden away from families and help make some hospital rooms feel a bit more like home. Casagrande says he doesn’t want this donation to be the last.

“The end goal is to start a foundation here at the U of A where all the athletes can donate their NIL efforts,” said Casagrande.

Tyler has not been able to meet any of the children and families his money is helping because of current visitor restrictions at Banner University Medical Center, but he is hopeful some of those kids will be able to make it out to a UArizona baseball game this spring.

Casagrande told us he has had other athletes reach out to him about how they might be able to make a similar donation.

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