Red Sox legend David Ortiz has a video chat last week with North Adams' Jeff Cardinal, at right with daughter Brittany.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — For Brittany Cardinal, it was a chance to chat with her father.
For him, it was an opportunity to talk to Big Papi.
"I was on the phone with my dad when I was doing a photo shoot with David [Ortiz], and [Ortiz] said, 'Give me the phone,'" Brittany recalled this week. "When we turned on Facetime, my dad's eyes lit up very large.
"It really lifted his spirits and made his day. Everyone is rooting for my dad, including David."
On Sunday at the Greylock Community Club, family and friends of North Adams' Jeff Cardinal will hold a party that will double as a fundraiser and an opportunity for Cardinal to meet some of the people who have been supporting him in his fight against cancer.
That support system includes Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Ortiz, who is a spokesperson for Brittany Cardinal's employer, eternalHealth, a Boston-based Medicare Advantage insurer.
"We partnered with David Ortiz because of his ties in the health and wellness field with his Children's Fund," said Brittany, the director of marketing for eternalHealth. "He just cared so much about our local community that we thought he was a natural.
"When I told him about what was happening with my dad, he said, 'Let me sign some of my baseball items so you can use them as a fundraiser.' He was so kind to do that."
On Sunday, a Major League baseball, bat and Red Sox jersey, all signed by the legendary slugger, will be raffled off at the Greylock Club to raise money to help with Jeff Cardinal's medical bills and living expenses.
Cardinal is fighting stage four cancer after first getting sick last year, Brittany said.
"Unfortunately, my dad was diagnosed in February of this year," she said. "We started a Gofundme soon thereafter. He had been really sick since the summer of 2021, but we didn't know why. He's been out of work for some time."
As of midday Wednesday, the Gofundme has raised more than $19,000 in donations.
Brittany said Sunday's event has been in the works since March.
"It's just a fun-filled day to come out, say hello to my dad, lift his spirits up and hopefully raise some money for him, as he's not able to work any more, and take care of his medical bills as well," she said.
The event will run from 1 to 6 p.m. at the club on State Road (Route 2). The admission price is $20, which includes a picnic lunch with grilled items, side salad and desserts as well as entertainment from local artists.
Musical acts scheduled to appear include Braden Collins, Midnite:30, Jessica Gregory Wilson and CJ Field.
In addition to the items signed by Ortiz, sports fans can take chances to win a hockey puck signed by Mark Messier, a baseball signed by current Boston outfielder Alex Verdugo or tickets to a Red Sox game.
A large tent for the event has been donated by the Stamford (Vt.) Sportsman's Club, and the day will feature a penny raffle with a wide variety of items donated by local businesses and individuals, including: condo stays in Steamboat, Colo., and Panama City Beach, Fla., a free portable toilet rental from A1 Septic, a $1,000 home improvement gift card from R&T Roofing and Remodeling, a variety of gift baskets and gift cards from Walgreens, Chef's Hat, Freight Yard Pub, Grazie, Bounti-Fare, Boston Sea Foods, Panera, Ramunto's, Spirit Shop, Gramercy Bistro, Water Street Grill and Scissor Sisters.
Brittany said Sunday's party will be a good chance for old friends to connect with her father, who has a hard time getting out to see people as much as he would like.
"He doesn't want people to feel bad for him, but he doesn't understand that so many people in the North Adams community are on his side and rooting for him," she said. "This will be a good opportunity to lift his spirits."
The event page for Sunday's benefit can be found here.
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