We started as NEWBEginning, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to conquering adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer. Our goal was to raise awareness about AYAs with cancer and create a fun recreational outlet for relaxation and emotional healing for these young patients and their families. But we realized there were many groups out there doing that already - we needed to do more BEFORE a diagnosis.
And so we are now gen eff - the eff comes from Jeff but also represents an attitude toward those things that prevent AYAs from living and being. They are the generation (gen) that needs to be empowered to take charge of their health.
Our Namesake Jeffrey "NEWBE" Newbauer, Jr.
Jeffrey captured national media attention with his ballpark tour in 2006. He was on a mission to create more awareness for adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer research and funding. He, along with various friends and family members who joined him, brought awareness in the stands and with the media, appearing on such programs as "CNN Saturday Morning", ESPN's “Cold Pizza”, and other local radio and news programs around the country.
Anyone who knew Jeffrey knew that he put others before himself, and even when feeling weak and sick, it was others he was thinking of - whether it was the 7th grade football team he chose to coach - regardless of how he was feeling physically - or the many children he visited on the oncology floor at the Cleveland Clinic while receiving his own treatments. Very soon, it was apparent that these others with cancer – the children/adolescents and young adults like himself, became his mission.
Although Jeffrey knew his time was limited, he was determined to make it to all 30 major league ballparks to get the word out about cancer awareness while enjoying the escape that being at those games gave him – an escape from the cancer that was taking over his body. That cancer, however, never took over his spirit as he welcomed every opportunity to talk about the need for national focus on this unique group of individuals who suffer from cancer.
Jeffrey made it to 26 of the 30 major league ball parks and had tickets for Game 3 of the 2006 World Series on October 24th. However, his health was failing and he was unable to make it to Game 3. He passed away the next day on October 25, 2006.
The media attention his death received was a testimonial to the awareness that he spread in his journeys. The Associated Press carried the story of his passing throughout the country, explaining what he had accomplished in such a short time. Even ABCNews’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” included Jeffrey in their weekly “In Memoriam” segment, a part of their weekly news program which is typically reserved for celebrities and world leaders who have passed that week. It was apparent to us and the rest of the nation that Jeffrey had done something amazing that spread across this country and that we needed to continue that momentum for him where he had left off.
Jeffrey’s doctors firmly believed that the energy and stamina with which he lived every day was solely credited to his amazingly positive attitude and his determination to make the trips to those ballparks – for himself and for the many others who suffered with this disease. We want to continue promoting the importance of a positive attitude in an otherwise negative situation, while also providing a healing escape to the ballparks - that All-American, liberating feeling of sitting at a stadium and witnessing America’s favorite pastime.
We pledge to continue promoting that positive spirit to the AYAs who are suffering with cancer. We want to help others see cancer the way that Jeffrey did - he lived his life on his own terms, not the cancer's terms. Cancer does not need to be an obstacle to living a fulfilling life. Just remember...What seems like an end can be a NEWBEginning!
For more background information on Jeffrey and his battle with cancer, click here.
The Initial Jeff's Ballpark Tour 2006
Quite an accomplishment for a young man fighting the effects of his cancer treatment. Jeffrey's oncologist, Dr. Megan Burke at The Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital, played an instrumental part in the Tour by her amazing determination to work with us in coordinating his treatments and his travel schedule, which often involved meticulous coordination around predicting his peek energy levels given the expected side effects of his chemo treatments. We methodically worked with the MLB schedule to fit in as many games as we could between each of his treatments.
Over and over that day, Jeffrey kept uttering the words “This is the greatest day of my life!” Little did he know, this was just the beginning of an amazing baseball adventure.
His next trip wrapped up the month of June with a surprise visit (via private jet and limo!) to the historic Fenway Park in Boston. Jeffrey was in awe and with due respect to his hometown Tribe, credited this as his favorite of all the MLB parks he visited. The history and tradition that surrounds Fenway truly touched Jeffrey and those amazing Red Sox fans rocked his core. He loved the Fenway atmosphere!
The month of July took Jeffrey to the AllStar Game in Pittsburgh, although it was not without a fight. Jeffrey had been hospitalized the week of the All-Star game and again, with the support and determination of his doctor and the staff at the Cleveland Clinic, he was released the day of the game, just in time for he and his Dad to take in the experience at PNC Park (he was actually interviewed by a Pittsburgh radio station from his hospital bed as he was being discharged!) Dr. Burke and her staff knew the trip was important to him and that the trip alone had therapeutic value.
July also brought trips to Los Angeles to see the Dodgers, as well as a return trip to PNC Park to take in a Pirates game.
The month of August was jam-packed with trips, starting off with another historic favorite for Jeffrey, Wrigley Field. The next week, it was on to Philadelphia to take in the Phillies. The following week took Jeffrey and Dad back out to the West Coast to see the Padres in San Diego and the Angels in Anaheim, then onto Detroit the next day to see the Tigers. Jeffrey got a day's rest and then had the honor of coming back to his own hometown stadium to toss out the first pitch for the Indians game. And after a few winks, was aboard his preferred method of travel - another private plane! - for a day trip to Atlanta and those Braves, this time along with a group of family and friends.
September was the busiest month of all, with Jeffrey's travels taking him to 16 ball parks in all! It kicked off in the Lone Star State to see the Astros and the Rangers. The following week took the ball park travelers on a 3-day sweep with the Minnesota Twins, the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. The following week took Jeffrey to St. Louis and Kansas City for two days with the Cardinals and Royals. Next, it was on to the nation's capital to see the Nationals and the neighboring Orioles the next night (an added treat for Jeffrey was a nighttime helicopter ride over the capital city, compliments of D.C.'s finest, the Metro Special Units Division - wow!)
After a brief day break back at home, it was back out for a day trip to see the Brewers in Milwaukee, then the next day, off to the Big Apple to see the Mets and the Yankees (and a stop in at ESPN to be interviewed on "Cold Pizza.") Jeffrey was able to lay down his head on his own pillow for one night before heading out for the final stretch of the season - and this would be a doozy back out to the West Coast for 4 games in 4 days - Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Seattle Mariners (where Sharon Hargrove, wife of Manager Mike Hargrove, presented Jeffrey with an Inspiration Award on behalf of Northeast Ohio's The Littlest Heroes) and finally, the San Francisco Giants. After a relaxing and complimentary stay at the San Francisco Ritz Carlton, as well as a little sight-seeing, it was back home to rest up for the World Series.
With the amazing support of Holiday Inn and Major League Baseball, Jeffrey would have sat in a luxury suite for Game 3 of the World Series in St. Louis 3 weeks later. Due to his failed health, he was unable to make the trip to the game. The next night, he passed away to his own field of dreams.
While on his travels, Jeffrey met many MLB players, coaches, and media personalities. He had wonderful opportunities to share why he was making the Tour of the parks. In the airports, trains, and in the stands, he spread the word on the tremendous need for attention and funds for cancer research, but in particular, the need for a focus on that group of adolescents/young adults (AYAs) like himself who weren’t children anymore, but weren’t yet adults – those who were ready to be on their own, and now suddenly had new life challenges that prevented them from being on their own. He dedicated himself to increasing awareness of these challenges.
We invite anyone who visits this site to share it with others - PITCH the cause, encourage a HIT to this site, and let's STRIKE OUT cancer!