Wilson inspired to raise awareness
Hemophilia patient strikes chord with Rangers southpaw
HOUSTON -- C.J. Wilson first met Micah Champagne at Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth. He was one of several Rangers visiting the hospital that day.Micah, 5 years old at the time, was being treated for hemophilia. "His face just lit up when he saw us in there," Wilson said. "I never realized somebody in the hospital could be so positive. He was such a happy kid and I gave him a big hug."
Wilson has always been willing to be involved in the community in a variety of areas, but meeting Micah that one day helped him focus his attention on children in hospitals.That was also the genesis for Guitar Hero, Wilson's charity event which will be held beginning at 6 p.m. CT Thursday at the 8.0 Restaurant & Bar in Fort Worth, Texas. Admission is $10 and proceeds will go toward the Texas Hemophilia Camp and Wilson's Children's Charities. "It's like a big party," Wilson. "We have video game tournaments, sign autographs, have a raffle and give away great prizes. After it's over, I'll be the D.J. in the night club for awhile." Among the prizes are front row seats and backstage passes to a Metallica concert in Dallas, flight simulator rides at Southwest Airlines and the use of a luxury suite at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. This is the seventh time that Wilson has held the event. The primary goal is to raise money for children in hospitals but there is also a secondary focus. Wilson also wants to raise awareness among teenagers and young adults on the importance of community service and volunteer work. "If you can get 17-, 18- and 20-year-old kids to realize that they can do things voluntarily for a good cause, it creates an entitlement for philanthropy throughout their lives," Wilson said. "It doesn't matter how much money you give but how much you care for your community. "That's why we want a casual atmosphere rather than a black-tie affair. Instead of going for big money, we're going for the kids who can ultimately create more of a change in society." Wilson puts on the event himself with Micah's father, Robert Champagne, who is a maintenance supervisor with Southwest Airlines. Micah will also be there. "He goes to all the events," Wilson said. Robert Champagne is on the board of the Texas Central Hemophilia Association, and Micah's mother, Kelly, is an advocate on issues affecting people with long-term illnesses. "Robert is great," Wilson said. "He's really organized and steers us in the right direction. Without him, we'd be a lot worse off. He allows me to focus on what I need to do and that's to be a good host and put on a really good show. "I wish I could be more of an impact player, so this event could be more visible."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.