Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Marlins infielder Dee Gordon teams with Parkinson’s fundraiser

Siblings David Blechman and Melissa Blechman are honored to be partnering with Miami Marlins baseball player and stolen base champ Dee Gordon, center, in the Dee-Feat Parkinson’s Disease fundraiser.
Siblings David Blechman and Melissa Blechman are honored to be partnering with Miami Marlins baseball player and stolen base champ Dee Gordon, center, in the Dee-Feat Parkinson’s Disease fundraiser.

Miami Marlins infielder Dee Gordon is challenging himself to steal as many bases as he can this month, and it’s all for a good cause. He has teamed up with the Blechman Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in a partnership to promote awareness and raise money for research.

“Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder, and base stealing places a premium on movement,” said David Blechman, president of the Blechman Foundation in a news release. “Dee Gordon is a champion base stealer, and because Parkinson’s disease steals so much from its victims in terms of motor control, we naturally drew a connection between PD awareness and Dee’s talents on the diamond.”

Gordon is encouraging all baseball fans to pledge support to the Miami-based foundation for every base he steals during games throughout April, which is also Parkinson’s Awareness Month and the start of the Major League Baseball season.

“Dee’s partnership with the Blechman Foundation in the Stolen Base Challenge is a natural fit,” wrote Melissa Blechman, vice president of the Blechman Foundation, in email. “Dee is from Florida and plays for the Miami Marlins. We grew up in Florida as avid Marlins fans, and our mom, Nancy, still lives in Miami. Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder, and Dee is all about movement on the base path. This all fits together rather nicely, like a hand in a (baseball) glove.”

Nancy Blechman is the inspiration behind the foundation started in 2012 by her children, David and Melissa. Nancy Blechman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 50 in 2008.

All funds raised during the foundation’s first-ever stolen base challenge, called Dee-Feat Parkinson’s Disease, will go directly toward Parkinson’s disease research. It has been estimated that one million people in America are living with Parkinson’s, with 60,000 newly diagnosed each year.

Visit or to help during the stolen base fundraising partnership with Gordon.

“We hope to get a broad range of people involved in our fundraising effort that will be fun and worthwhile,” David Blechman said. “We hope people will join us in saying: ‘I helped Dee steal a base for PD.’”


“Walk in My Shoes” is a 1,500-mile journey from Key West to Tallahassee with the goal to raise awareness and empowerment for the millions of survivors of child sexual abuse. Walkers started March 14 and the 42-day mission will be complete on April 22.

Amigos For Kids, dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect, kicked off its 2015 Blue Ribbon “There’s No Excuse for Child Abuse” efforts by joining Lauren’s Kids in a “Walk in My Shoes” event held recently at Jose Martí Park in Miami.

In solidarity with Lauren’s Kids, the Amigos For Kids after-school program children and families trekked around the park. The event also included a mini martial arts lesson by White Tiger in Miami, a book reading by Lauren Book of her children’s novel Lauren’s Kingdom, and an educational session about child abuse.

“It is heartbreaking that one in three girls and one in five boys will fall victim to child abuse in Florida before they turn 18,” said Rosa Maria Plasencia, Amigos For Kids president and CEO, in a news release.

“We are truly blessed to count on the support of organizations like Amigos for Kids for our 1,500-mile journey,” Book said in a news release. “It’s about using our collective voice to stand and protect our children.”

You can still join the walk or make a donation. To learn how, visit For more about the Amigos For Kids’ 2015 Blue Ribbon Awareness Campaign, visit


Sign up for the fun annual Villagers’ Historic Hunt set to begin promptly at 4 p.m., April 18, in the parking lot of the Miami Women’s Club, 1737 N. Bayshore Dr., behind the former Omni complex.

Registered “Heaven to Earth” hunters will drive their own cars and set-off for a two-and-a-half-hour quest through some of our most interesting and historical sites. The event will conclude at 6:30 p.m. at the Montgomery Botanical Center, 11901 Old Cutler Rd. in Coral Gables with a cash bar, silent auction, and prizes. This event has been known for years to push participants to explore the little-known, quirky side of Miami-Dade County.

“Whether or not you are a history buff, the Villager Hunt is just plain fun,” Villagers President Beverly Loftus said in a news release.

Tickets are $25 per person and are available at Proceeds support historic restoration and preservation in Miami-Dade County.


Alan Meerow, a research geneticist and horticulturist, will speak on the topic “Enhancing Tropical Ornamentals at the USDA Subtropical Horticulture Research Center (Chapman Field)” at the next Tropical Flowering Tree Society meeting at 7:30 p.m., April 13, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables, in the Corbin Building next to the Garden House.

This group meets on the second Monday of the month to hear speakers and enjoy rare flowering tree auctions, a bloom table, and refreshments. Visitors are welcome at no cost or become an involved member for $30 a year. For more call 305-389-5404, or check out


Join Southern Cross Astronomical Society President Dr. Lester Shalloway at a free talk to learn about the power exploding from the scorching surface of the Sun 8 p.m., April 17, at the Florida International University Physics Building lecture hall CP-145. Park in the FIU campus garage, in faculty/visitor slots, on the west side of Southwest 109 Avenue and Eighth Street and follow the SCAS signs across the patio.

Shalloway introduced SCAS safe solar viewing using hi-tech equipment 28 years ago at the ticket entrance to Zoo Miami, FIU, schools, the annual Winter Star Party and other special events. At this talk you can see some of his amazing images and learn about our natural source of light, heat and energy.

Bring friends, young science enthusiasts, and faculty and college students of heliophysics (the study of physics of the Sun) to this SCAS astronomy program where there will be lively discussion, a free food buffet and a valuable door prize. To learn more visit

Weather permitting, safe solar viewing is offered all year by SCAS members on Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to noon, at Zoo Miami, 12400 SW 152 St.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at