Brian McCann hugs nine-year-old Alexa Rohrbach in the Braves clubhouse during the 2007 season. (Photo/ Rally Foundation)

Brian McCann, Rally Foundation host Benefit Bash and softball game

Ten days ago, Brian McCann became a world champion with the Houston Astros. But that pales in comparison to what he did in Atlanta on Friday and Saturday.

Brian and his wife, Ashley, hosted the Rally Foundation’s annual Benefit Bash on Friday night at the Georgia Aquarium. They followed with the annual celebrity charity softball game on Saturday afternoon at 6-4-3 DP Athletics in Marietta.

The McCanns have been active with the Rally Foundation for the past 10 years. The Foundation, created in 2005 by now-CEO Dean Crowe, is a nonprofit organization that “raises awareness and funds for childhood cancer research.”

It began in 2007 when the couple met a nine-year-old girl named Alexa Rohrback, who was diagnosed with cancer at age one. They continuously visited Alexa in the hospital, a life-changing experience, according to Ashley, and wanted to further help patients in any way they could.

McCann continues his home run challenge that began while he was with the Braves. Participants pledge a chosen amount to donate to the Rally Foundation for every homer McCann hits during each season.

“We got involved in 2007, and we met Dean and we met the kids and once you meet the kids, that was it,” McCann said. “We wanted to be a part of it. It was perfect timing for where we were in our lives and it’s just been the highlight of our year every year.”

The silent auction on Friday raised over $1 million, a record for the Foundation. The night featured stories and performances from the “Rally kids” who are supported by the organization. Guests included former Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, Cubs pitcher Jon Lester, Braves manager Brian Snitker, former Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, former UGA quarterback David Greene, among several others.

Ashley gave an empowering speech about the need for philanthropic work and how living in Houston during Hurricane Harvey further illustrated that. Three rally kids shared their stories and battles, leaving few dry eyes in the audience.

Saturday’s game featured teams of the rally kids, major and minor leaguers and media. It was the ninth consecutive year the McCanns have hosted the event.

Since leaving the Braves as a free agent in 2013, McCann has played for the Yankees and Astros. But Atlanta is and always will be home.

“This is our home,” he said. “This is where we both grew up and went to high school and we’ll live here forever. This is where our roots are and we’ll always come back here.”

More information about the Rally Foundation can be found at the official website.

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