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M. D. Anderson Brings Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron to Houston for A Conversation With a Living Legend

Fundraising luncheon already has raised $375,000 this year for cancer research and patient care programs at the institution

M. D. Anderson News Release 11/23/09

Hall of Famer and all-time batting record holder Hank Aaron will share personal stories from his 23-year major league career during A Conversation With a Living Legend, an annual fundraising luncheon, Dec. 3 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston. Funds will benefit cancer research and patient care programs at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Former Astro Jeff Bagwell will introduce Aaron, and CBS News reporter Bob Schieffer will conduct the exclusive on-stage interview with the legend. Former CNN chairman and CEO and M. D. Anderson Board of Visitors member Tom Johnson will emcee the event. This year's event has raised more than $375,000 so far, and a total of almost $1 million has been raised since the event came to Houston in 2007. The event also has been held in Dallas and Washington, D.C. and has raised almost $9 million for M. D. Anderson during the past decade.

"Hank Aaron has impacted the game of baseball in many extraordinary ways, and he is truly a living symbol of what good sportsmanship means. I am pleased to have the opportunity to be able to welcome such an exceptional legend to Houston," said John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of M. D. Anderson. "I am always impressed with the outpouring of support from the Houston community. The philanthropic gifts given through this event truly will push forward our research and patient care programs, impacting the lives of those dealing with the complications of cancer for years to come."

This year's A Conversation With a Living Legend is chaired by Ginger and Jack Blanton, Kelli and Eddy Blanton and Leslie and Jack Blanton Jr. Elyse and Bob Lanier and Courtney and Christopher Sarofim are honorary chairs.

"The Blanton family has dedicated many years to supporting cancer research and patient care programs at M. D. Anderson, and in doing so, has eased the burden of many touched by this disease. I thank them for their commitment of time, resources and energy, and for their dedication to helping M. D. Anderson eliminate cancer," said Mendelsohn.

Aaron holds more major league batting records than any other player in the game's history, with statistics including 755 home runs and 2,297 runs batted in. He played in 25 All-Star games and was awarded three Golden Gloves during his career. In 1957 he was named the National League MVP, and that same year helped lead the Braves to victory in the World Series. On May 17, 1970, he became the first player to compile both 3,000 career hits and more than 500 home runs. Aaron was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, NY on August 1, 1982.

Aaron sits on the board of the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons and is a member of the Board of Governors for Boys and Girls Clubs of America. With his wife Billye, he is the founder of the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation. Aaron has received numerous civic awards, including the Medal of Freedom, awarded by President George W. Bush and the Presidential Citizens Medal, awarded by President Bill Clinton. In 1999, Major League Baseball announced the introduction of the Hank Aaron Award, which honors the best overall offensive performer in the American and National Leagues, and recently, Aaron dedicated the new exhibit "Hank Aaron-Chasing the Dream" at the baseball Hall of Fame.

As a reporter for more than 50 years, Schieffer has recently celebrated 40 years with CBS News. He has been the network's chief Washington correspondent since 1982 and served as the moderator of Face the Nation since 1991. Schieffer has covered every presidential campaign and been a floor reporter at all of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions since 1972. He has won seven Emmys and in 2002 and the National Press Foundation chose Schieffer as Broadcaster of the Year. In 2008, Schieffer published his fourth book, was named a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress, and debuted at the Grand Ole Opry with his country music band Honky Tonk Confidential.

Aaron joins Sherry Lansing, Mary Matalin and James Carville as Houston Living Legends. The event also has been held in Dallas and Washington, D.C., and has included legends such as Nolan Ryan, Tom Landry, Jack Nicklaus, Margaret Thatcher, Carol Burnett, President George H.W. Bush, Rudoph Giuliani and many others. Tickets start at $150; tables of 10 start at $1,500.00. For information, call 1-866-262-9029 or email events@mdanderson.org. 11/23/09


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