Robertson honors father, family with fundraiser

In the Rays’ clubhouse, no one is more compassionate toward the burdensome impact of cancer than rookie Daniel Robertson, whose charitable efforts brought a number players from across Major League Baseball together on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Upland, Calif.

Through his charity, the Daniel Robertson Family Foundation, Robertson has actively helped communities in need of financial aid when a family member is unable to work due to cancer treatment. He continued that effort Saturday with his second annual Mini Fan Fest Fundraiser.

In the Rays’ clubhouse, no one is more compassionate toward the burdensome impact of cancer than rookie Daniel Robertson, whose charitable efforts brought a number players from across Major League Baseball together on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Upland, Calif.

Through his charity, the Daniel Robertson Family Foundation, Robertson has actively helped communities in need of financial aid when a family member is unable to work due to cancer treatment. He continued that effort Saturday with his second annual Mini Fan Fest Fundraiser.

Saturday’s event — and the foundation — were established to honor Robertson’s father, Don, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010. After working for a year, Don was able to take time off thanks to savings and supplementary incomes. The Robertson family is grateful for the time they were able to spend with Don before he passed away in September 2013, and it is through that spirit the foundation was formed.

“This is what we wanted to do: help out families in need who are suffering from a disease or illness,” Robertson said. “When we were going through it, our family was fortunate that we were pretty stable, and we didn’t have any huge lifestyle changes. A lot of families aren’t that fortunate to be in that spot.”

Players in attendance at the event — which included kids’ games, a silent auction and an autograph session — included Robertson’s Rays teammate Jake Faria, the Mariners’ Ryon Healy and Chase De Jong, the A’s Boog Powell, the Braves’ Rio Ruiz, the Rangers’ Josh Morgan, the Royals’ Josh Staumont, the Brewers’ Cody Ponce and Bubba Derby, the Orioles’ Matt Hammonds and the White Sox Jeff Gelalich.

“I just think it’s part of our job,” Robertson said. “We are on that stage where people will kind of follow action or listen to us just because we can influence so many different people.

“Being a professional athlete, I think that’s what comes along with the title is little things like this, giving back and doing the charity stuff. That’s what it’s all about.”

The Fan Fest event raised $9,625 last year and Robertson said he expects to meet this year’s goal of $15,000. He intends to maintain the fundraiser annually, and create additional events via the foundation throughout the year.

“Just something that keeps the foundation rolling and keeps bringing that money in that we can spread out to those people in need,” Robertson said. “[The further] I get in my career, I feel like the more it will grow.”

As to what his father would think of the foundation and fundraisers in his name, Robertson laughed.

“To be honest, if he knew it was for him, he probably wouldn’t like it because he always just liked to stay out of the spotlight,” Robertson said. “But I think he’d be really proud of my accomplishments on the field and off the field, for sure.”

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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