By Jake Brown

Nelson Figueroa isn’t just a former big league pitcher and a SNY Mets analyst…he’s also a guy who gives back to the community. Chai Lifeline is one place he has given back to in particular, and Monday night at Lucky Strike in New York City was all about giving back to a wonderful foundation.

Michael Gruen of 3PT Sports Management helped put together a bowling event to raise money for Chai Lifeline, which brings joy to the life of seriously ill children and their families through various programs. Monday’s event was pivotal, raising over $100,000, thanks to over 130 attendants, including celebrities, such as former Mets pitcher John Franco, NBC’s Bruce Beck, Gotham star David Mazouz, and many more. The event raised a ton of money for a wonderful cause along with a ton of incredible auctions that are still going on that you can bid on, which include meet-and-greets, lunches, autographed memorabilia, game tickets, and so much more. You can bid on these Charitybuzz auctions here.

The story of how Figueroa got involved is pretty remarkable, and all began in 2009 when he met Peri Finkelstein. I’ll let Nelson tell it:

“I met Peri Finkelstein, the girl that we really dedicated this night to. She was incredible. Back in 2009 I just went over to her, she was just a tremendous spirit. I know she’s in a wheelchair. I went over, signed a ball for her, she gave me a bracelet for good luck, told me to give David Wright one because that was her favorite player. I did that. I threw a complete game shutout at the end of that season. I dedicated it to her at that moment. We lost contact, her father contacted me, while I was working at SNY and I saw the video of her walking in the Miami marathon with a special chair. She did 1,400 steps in the Miami marathon to raise money for other kids, who are wheelchair bound, terminal illnesses, cancer, and things of that nature, so they get a chance to go to Camp Simcha, which is a tremendous place in upstate New York for a week, where they get opportunities they can’t get elsewhere. They have modified jetskis, modified helicopter rides, ziplines, all kinds of things where these kids get to be kids and not have to worry about being under care for 24 hours a day. Plus their families get that down time also. They get to enjoy all the fun parts of being with them and seeing the smiles on their faces. I thought it was tremendous to do that. So I dedicated myself to walk a half marathon this year in Miami and join her. She’s going to do one mile this year and again for someone who is wheelchair bound every day of their life to put herself out like that, to do one mile strong, I said I’m going to do a half marathon and give it all I got.”

Jake Brown is the Digital Program Manager at CBS Sports Radio and a columnist for CBS Sports Radio, CBS Local Sports, and CBS Local. You can catch him on The Jake Brown Show on CBS Radio’s, iTunes, and Spotify. It’s a weekly sports show mixed in with a bit of entertainment and interviews as well every week. He occasionally hosts SportsTalk1240 on WGBB in Long Island, and formerly hosted Brown and Scoop, Brown and Troupe, and on ESPN Radio NH. Jake lives in Queens and being a Mets fan is finally paying off.


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