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Sister inspires Clemente candidate Breslow

Sister inspires Clemente candidate Breslow

OAKLAND -- The relief help Craig Breslow lends to the A's is undeniable, but at the end of the day, it pales in comparison to the aid he's offered in the community, a reason for which he's been selected as the club's candidate for the annual Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet.

Breslow exudes quite the passion for helping children through medicine, and to that end, he created the Strike 3 Foundation in 2008. He uses the foundation to honor his sister Lesley, a pediatric thyroid cancer survivor, in hopes of heightening awareness, mobilizing support and raising funds for childhood cancer research.

Since the time of its founding, Breslow has hosted a handful of charity events, many of which took place this season, thanks to a growing support base.

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"It's definitely the year we've gained the most momentum, had the most widespread recognition and financially generated the most revenue," Breslow said. "Most importantly, there are more people familiar with the Strike 3 Foundation and what we do who weren't a year ago. Because we're still young and we're still growing, I think that's as important as the dollars that were raised."

All 30 award nominees, including Breslow, have immersed themselves in the type of humanitarian and community efforts that distinguished the life of Clemente, a life that ended at age 38 on New Year's Eve, 1972, with the crash of a plane aboard which he was personally delivering aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.

"It's obviously very humbling," Breslow said of the nomination, "but I would imagine that all the people under consideration don't do the work that they do for recognition. But whether I'm fortunate enough to be recognized or not, it's not going to dissuade or discourage me from continuing to do the work."

Fans will once again have the opportunity to participate in the selection of the national winner. They can cast votes for any of the 30 club nominees through Oct. 8.

The fan-ballot winner will be tallied as one vote among those cast by a special selection panel of baseball dignitaries and media members. The panel includes Commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, widow of the Hall of Fame right fielder.

Voting fans also will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip for four to the 2010 World Series to see the national winner presented with the Roberto Clemente Award.

In the meantime, Breslow will be honored by the A's for his consideration in a pregame ceremony before Wednesday's home contest against the Mariners at the Oakland Coliseum. Looking on will be teammate Andrew Bailey, who has joined forces with his fellow reliever by jumping on board with the Strike 3 Foundation as Director of Development.

"His sister having cancer and being a survivor, he's always said the charity's more or less a celebration of the good things that can happen, the feel-good stories that do happen with cancer," Bailey said. "You hear so many times [that] young kids are suffering through hard times, and for someone to survive all that treatment and go on to live a full and unrestricted life is something to celebrate rather than to be upset about.

"The charity is obviously big in my heart as well, for what he's doing. I kind of look at things a little differently now."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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