May 21, 2014
It was a busy 10-week Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraising campaign for Gopher pitching coach Todd Oakes, but a rewarding one as well. Oakes raised the third-highest monetary donation towards this year’s LLS drive, bringing in $74,816. He calls it his most rewarding third-place finish he’s ever had and wants to thank all members of Team T.O. for helping in his cause.
"I am very grateful to LLS for giving me this opportunity,” Oakes said. “The hesitancy of committing to the campaign during the season quickly turned to excitement, passion, and optimism for the fundraising opportunity. This was a very humbling and rewarding experience for me and my team."
With the 13 male and female candidates, a new record was established this year in donations at $726,347. The male candidate of the year raised $103,000, while the second place candidate raised $92,000. The top women’s candidate came in at $66,000. Teri Cannon, the LLS executive director said “"I am overjoyed with how each and every candidate put forth their personal best to make this year's Man & Woman of the Year campaign a record breaking success."
By raising over $25,000, Oakes will be in the LLS MOTY Legends Club. By raising more than $50,000, he will also get to name a research portfolio.
"Team T.O. raised a significant amount of money, which will fund blood cancer research and give hope to more cancer victims,” Oakes said. This is the greatest reward and feeling of satisfaction of the whole campaign."
Countless donations from athletic department supporters came in, including from head coaches John Anderson, Jerry Kill, Richard Pitino and J Robinson. Gopher alums and friends of Gopher baseball came out to support his cause in various ways during the 10 weeks. Not only did current Minnesota Twin Glen Perkins donate $2,500, his contribution was matched by the Twins and the Major League Players Union. Along with $500 raised at Gopher baseball games and $1,700 in Team T.O. t-shirt sales, the Northwest Umpires Association donated $1,500. Augsburg baseball, where Oakes son, Tanner, plays, brought in $1,500. Also contributing $1,300 to the cause was the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services. Through pledges and donations, the Gopher Baseball team raised approximately $5,000 alone.
"I would like to thank the Gopher athletic department, the Gopher Baseball family, and the entire baseball community for their donations and support,” Oakes said. “We had hundreds of individual donations that contributed to this amazing fundraising total. It's all about a team effort and hundreds of unselfish individuals who were willing to give back and support a cause bigger than themselves. I am eternally grateful to everyone who donated and supported this campaign."
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