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Updated 10:00 AM March 5, 2007
 

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Detroit Tiger Inge and wife donate to create Mott activity area

Who's your Tiger? If you ask the patients and families at the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, it's likely they would say Detroit Tiger third baseman Brandon Inge.
Detroit Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge signs an autograph at the Base-Bowl with Champions event Jan. 19 at Colonial Lanes in Ann Arbor. The event raised more than $18,000 for Mott and the Detroit Tigers Foundation. Inge and wife, Shani, have volunteered since 2003 at C.S.Mott Children's Hospital and recently donated $100,000 to the facility. (Photo by Dawn Whitford)

Since 2003 Brandon and Shani Inge have donated a considerable time to visiting patients, as well as helping to raise funds for Mott programs. Now, the Inges are giving a $100,000 gift to create an activity area in the pediatric cancer infusion area in the new $523 million C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Women's Hospital facility, set to open in 2011.

Inge is an American League champion. During the 2006 season, he hit career highs with 27 home runs and 83 RBIs. But even with the unforgettable playoff run last season, he says there's nothing on the baseball field that can compare to walking into a patient room at Mott and seeing a child smile.

"As excited as I am about the season starting, I'm equally excited about this gift and what it will mean to the kids at Mott," Inge says. "Our hope is that this play area will be associated with joy, and that it will give the kids and their families a break from what they're going through. It's one of the reasons why we feel giving back to our community is so important."

Brandon and Shani Inge, along with the Detroit Tigers Wives Association, have focused their efforts on helping families and patients at Mott. After learning about the services and care provided at the hospital, Shani Inge, who previously worked at U-M, felt it was important to take a more active role in supporting Mott. And, she says, it only took one visit with some young patients to convince her husband that they could really make a difference in the lives of children.

"We've made a genuine connection with so many of the patients and families, and we're always amazed at how they're able to keep their spirits up. They truly lift our spirits and bring us a particular joy," she says. "That's why this gift isn't just a one-time thing for us—this gets the ball rolling so we can make sure these families have everything they need at Mott."

To make the new pediatric infusion clinic activity area more special for the patients, the Inges, who have a 2-year-old son and are expecting a second child in August, plan to host a contest to allow the children and members of the community to name the activity area in the new hospital.

Regardless of its name, the activity area undoubtedly will create a warm and fun environment for patients and their families, says Patricia Warner, associate hospital director for Children's and Women's Services.

"This activity area will be a very special addition to our new children's and women's building project," Warner says. "Beyond this wonderful gift, Brandon and Shani have generously donated a considerable amount of their time over the years to not only lift the spirits of our patients, but also to help us raise funds for our programs and our new children's hospital. We are very fortunate to have them on our team."

In addition to countless hours over the past four years visiting patients, the Inges have been involved with a number of fundraising efforts. They, along with past and present Detroit Tigers players and U-M sports stars, recently took part in the Base-Bowl with Champions event. The January fundraiser brought in more than $18,000 for Mott and the Detroit Tigers Foundation. Additionally, the Detroit Tigers Wives Association in 2003 hosted a community picnic in Ann Arbor, and raised $15,000 for the Mott Child and Family Life Program. Plus, the Detroit Tigers' annual Children's Health Night at Comerica Park has helped raise thousands of dollars.

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