Nashville native and former City of Hope patient Stephen Bess will return to Music City next month for an emotional homecoming, one in which he’ll be introduced to the man who saved his life.
During his treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia more than two years ago at City of Hope, Bess received a lifesaving donation of genetically matched stem cells from a stranger who, as it turned out, lived half a world away, in Germany. Ever since that time, Bess has wondered about that person, to whom he’s forever linked, who willingly and freely volunteered those cells. On June 13, in a special and rare ceremony at the 25th annual Celebrity Softball Game, Bess will get a chance to meet his life-giving hero.
“I am constantly humbled by the love and support I have received since my diagnosis in 2012. From the amazing staff at City of Hope, to my anonymous hero donor, to all of my friends and family, and of course my wife, Erin — I would not be alive if it weren’t for all of them,” said Stephen Bess. “To celebrate all of this in my hometown of Nashville is surreal. Thank you City of Hope, and thank you Nashville!”
The meeting will be the emotional highlight of the game, held during CMA Music Festival at the new First Tennessee Park. After the meeting, both Stephen and his bone marrow donor will play alongside country artists Aaron Watson, Charles Esten, Chuck Wicks, Lauren Alaina, Lindsay Ell, Little Big Town, Love and Theft, Vince Gill and many more to strike out cancer with City of Hope.
A pioneer in the treatment of bone and blood marrow diseases, City of Hope has performed more than 12,000 lifesaving bone marrow transplants. It also is a leading biomedical research institute for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses. The City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game, presented by Staples and sponsored by PEOPLE Country, raises funds for that research.
Each year, the Celebrity Softball Game regularly features some of Country Music’s biggest and hottest stars. Over the years, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Scotty McCreery, Vince Gill and many more have taken to the field in support of City of Hope’s lifesaving mission.
Tickets for the game can be purchased through Ticketmaster. Get more information on the game and the line-up of celebrities at www.cityofhope.org/softball. Those not able to attend the game can still support the cause. A variety of unique merchandise and experiences, including meet-and-greets with the hottest artists, will be available for bid at charitybuzz.com. The proceeds will benefit City of Hope’s mission to eradicate cancer and other life-threatening diseases.