Former San Francisco Giants pitcher, cancer survivor and author Dave Dravecky will share his inspiring message of endurance and perseverance May 13 in a free program sponsored by Emanuel Regional Cancer Services.
“Dave Dravecky has one of the most moving stories in all of sports,” said Sanjiv Kashyap, executive director of Emanuel Regional Cancer Services. “Even though cancer ended his baseball career, his story of perseverance, faith and accomplishment after cancer is truly inspiring and we’re proud to bring him to Turlock.”
Tickets to hear Dravecky’s inspiring story at Emanuel Medical Plaza in Turlock on May 13 are free, but must be requested in advance. There are three convenient ways to reserve free tickets:
* Phone Emanuel Regional Cancer Services at 664-2434
* Email firstname.lastname@example.org
* Text “PLAYBALL” to 88788
The program will begin at 6 p.m. with hot dogs, Cracker Jack and apple pie for all ticket holders, then Dravecky will speak at 6:45 p.m. After his talk, Dravecky will hold a meet-and-greet for all tee-ball, softball and baseball players of any age, dressed in uniform.
Dravecky, a left-handed All Star pitcher, came to the Giants during the 1987 season, helping take the team into the playoffs. The next year, a cancerous tumor was found in his pitching arm, and half of his deltoid muscle had to be removed to excise the tumor.
Told it would take a miracle for him to ever pitch again, Dravecky persevered and worked himself back into major-league shape. In July 1989, the baseball world – and cancer survivors everywhere – stood and cheered as Dravecky took the mound for the Giants and beat Cincinnati 4-3.
But five days later, pitching against Montreal, a bone in Dravecky’s arm simply snapped from the effort of a pitch. Later that season his cancer was rediscovered and after more treatments in 1991, his left arm and shoulder were amputated to stop the cancer from spreading further and risking his life.
In his book, “When You Can’t Comeback,” Dravecky wrote about having to redefine himself after that surgery. He is also the author and/or co-author of “Comeback,” “The Worth of a Man,” “Called Up” and “Play Ball.”
“My ability to provide for my family was not based on how smart I was or how hard I worked. It was based solely on what my arm could do on game day,” he wrote. “My arm was to me what hands are to a concert pianist, what feet are to a marathon runner. It’s what made me valuable, what gave me worth in the eyes of the world. Then suddenly my arm was gone.”
Dravecky and his wife Jan then founded Endurance, a non-profit foundation and ministry to help others endure on their journey through cancer.
Jan Dravecky will serve as the keynote speaker for the 17th annual Turlock Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast to be held at 6:45 a.m., also on May 13, at the Larsa Banquet Hall in Turlock. Ticket information for the Prayer Breakfast is available at TurlockPrayerBreakfast.com.