NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees began their annual HOPE Week on Monday by holding a special fifth-anniversary luncheon for past honorees aboard the Intrepid.
HOPE Week — which stands for “Helping Others Persevere and Excel” shines a spotlight on a different individual, family or organization with an inspirational story each day of the week.
Former Yankees Mariano Rivera and David Cone returned to attend Monday’s luncheon.
Rivera joked with the team’s front office staff.
“I told Jason (Zillo, executive director of communications and media relations) not to bother me — ‘Don’t call me after I retire, don’t call me,'” Rivera said. “He keeps calling me. But when he called me for this, how can you not?”
“To see these people and how much they’re doing just to struggle on day in and day out basis to make a difference really does change your perspective,” Cone told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.
Among those returning was 7-year-old Andy Fass, who plays T-ball despite being legally blind. He threw out the first pitch at a Yankees game in 2012.
“Now I’m famous,” Andy said.
“Sometimes when people have dreams to play baseball and and their albinism and they can’t see well, I teach them,” Andy said.
Eleven-year-old Autumn Blinn of Rome, New York, who makes pillows for hospital patients, was surprised by Yankees players last year as she handed out pillows to children with cancer.
“It was really awesome because a lot of people start wanting to pillows, and they noticed, and more donations came in,” Blinn said.
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