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Fans Across America Announces First Walls of Fame Honorees

03/16/2010

PHOENIX - March 17, 2010 - The Joe Niekro Foundation, the Harlem Globetrotters, former San Francisco Giants outfielder Jalal Leach, and the father-son racing team of Dick and Rick Hoyt are the first four Walls of Fame honorees of the Fans Across America Charitable Foundation.

Fans Across America, started in 2006 by Bruce Petillo of Gilbert, AZ, a former catcher in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, was one of 30 honored by People Magazine and the Major League Baseball All-Stars Among Us program at the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis.

The 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization is a community of sports and entertainment fans committed to helping families with seriously ill children.

The Walls of Fame program is part of Fans Across America's ongoing effort to unite sports and entertainment fans and increase awareness of the positive actions and contributions of athletes and celebrities in the Valley and around the country.

"There are so many athletes and celebrities doing good things, but who don't get recognized," said Petillo, who started the foundation after his son was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 3. "These people are taking their success and applying it to help others."

The Joe Niekro Foundation, named for the former Major League All-Star knuckleballer, was founded by daughter Natalie - a Scottsdale resident -- after her father's death due to a brain aneurysm in 2006. The foundation's proceeds are donated to various hospitals in an effort to expand aneurysm treatment and research.

The Globetrotters need no introduction, of course. Known worldwide for their on-court antics, they also are part of the C.H.E.E.R. for Character program targeted for 6-12-year-olds, designed with assistance of the U.S. Dept. of Education.

Jalal Leach is honored for his work with The Baseball Mentoring Program, and the S.L.I.D.E Youth Baseball Program in Sacramento. Leach, 40, played eight games with the Giants in 2001 and spent 14 seasons in the minor leagues.

Team Hoyt is the inspiring father/son story of Dick and Rick Hoyt, who compete in marathons and triathlons across the country to promote awareness of helping the physically disabled better integrate into their communities. Due to oxygen deprivation during birth, Rick Hoyt is a paraplegic with cerebral palsy. Their non-profit Hoyt Foundation was formed in 1989.

Fans Across America plans to add more honorees in the future.

About Fans Across America

The Fans Across America Charitable Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization, is a community of sports and entertainment fans committed to providing much needed financial assistance to families with seriously ill children. In appreciation for their support, Foundation Team members receive special promotional offers and discounts from Fans Across America partners at professional and collegiate sporting events, golf courses, retail outlets, restaurants, entertainment venues and travel destinations. Ultimately, Fans Across America unites fans, athletes, celebrities, businesses and all those committed to making a difference in the lives of these families during the most difficult times.

For more information, please visit us online at http://www.fansacrossamerica.org/.

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What would you do if your child was diagnosed with a serious illness or faced homelessness?

Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution or ongoing pledge and help Fans Across America make a difference in the lives of the families we serve.