On March 9, 2023, Issues Concerning Athletes held its 13th Annual Celebrity Bartender Night at Wasted Grain in Scottsdale, AZ. Erica Brooks, the Founder of Issues Concerning Athletes, spearheaded the event. At least 12 Major League Baseball players joined as celebrity bartenders, serving up drinks, laughs, and good conversations for a good cause. According to reporting from Zachary Finkelstein on MLB News, 100% of proceeds from the event are donated to Amyloidosis Support Groups, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides support and resources to those within the amyloidosis community.
Brooks chose to support Amyloidosis Support Groups given her father’s personal experience with amyloidosis. Her father fought amyloidosis for six years. Although he has since passed away, Brooks leads in his honor and aims to ensure that everyone has access to the care, resources, and tools that they need. Over the years, Celebrity Bartender Night has raised nearly $240,000 and included athletes such as Johnny Cueto, Robinson Canó, and Anthony Rizzo (among many others!).
The 13th Annual Celebrity Bartender Night featured a silent auction, delicious food and drinks, and a bar staffed with MLB players such as Billy Hamilton (White Sox), Gavin Sheets (White Sox), Romy Gonzalez (White Sox), Penn Murfee (Mariners), and Jose Cuas (Royals), among others. Players have shared how meaningful it is to get involved and make a change that truly benefits others. Coming together off the field in pursuit of a common goal is so rewarding.
We thank the players for their involvement and Brooks for her work—and hope to see you there next year!
What is Amyloidosis?
Amyloidosis is a rare disease characterized by a buildup of abnormal proteins called amyloids. As these proteins accumulate, they form deposits throughout the body, such as in the kidneys, heart, brain, and spleen. These cause the organs to stiffen and lose function. Altogether, there are six main categories of amyloidosis: primary, secondary, familial, dialysis-related, senile systemic, and organ-specific. A majority of individuals with amyloidosis are male. Symptoms may vary but can include:
- Fatigue and general malaise
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Macroglossia (increased tongue size)
- Abnormal bleeding following surgery, dental work, or injuries
- Shortness of breath
- Unintentional weight loss
- Swelling of the stomach and lower extremities
- Numbness or tingling in the hands/feet
- Bruised-looking areas around the eyes
- Proteinuria (excess protein in the urine)
This is not an exhaustive list of symptoms. Treatment options include stem cell transplants, chemotherapy, and certain medications.