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Jamie and Karen Moyer hosted Moyer Foundation's "Happy Merry Happenings" event for Camp Erin

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Former Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen hosted their first annual Jamie Moyer talking with Jimmy Rollins. Photo: Joseph Vallee Sr.“Happy Merry Happenings” Saturday at Philadelphia's Sigma Sound Studios.

All of the evening's proceeds benefited The Moyer Foundation & Camp Erin, which is the largest national bereavement camp in the country for grieving children and teens.

The Moyer foundation was started by Jamie and Karen Moyer in 2000, with Camp Erin following in 2002. Camp Erin serves more than 2,500 children annually, and is growing at a rapid pace.

For exclusive photos of the event, CLICK HERE.

"As of this summer, we'll have over 40 camps in 25 states, and we're very proud of that," said Jamie Moyer Saturday night. "Children who have lost someone near and dear to them can grieve the loss of a loved one individually and as a group with other campers. There are professionals counselors there to help them deal with their loss. The whole goal is to remember their loved ones in a positive way and move forward in life. Through Camp Erin we've been able to make a difference in thousands of children's lives, and that's what's most important for us."

Karen, who is Vice President and co-founder of The Moyer Foundation, is aware of the number of grieving children in need of programs like Camp Erin. The expansion of these camps mean that even more children will be able to start the healing process with help from others in a healthy, nurturing environment."

"There are 3.5 million kids who grieve the loss of a loved one in our country, so there is a need," Karen stressed. "There's 16,000 here in Philadelphia, and we need to do something about it. We had committed four years ago to put a Camp Erin in every major league baseball city. That will happen at the end of 2011. Our first major league city other than Seattle was Philadelphia. That's real exciting to us. We have military camps with the USO now exclusively for military kids with three of those happening last year. We're expanding and deepening our own personal commitment by opening an office on the east coast. We're keeping the founding office in Seattle and hopefully maybe we'll be opening an office here in Philadelphia. We're literally in a search right now for a national director, Photo: Joe Vallee Sr.and Jamie and I will be doing some interviews here in the next couple days."

When asked why Philadelphia was chosen as the location to kick off their annual event, the Moyers thought the choice was rather obvious.

"Philadelphia is a special place," Jamie stated. "Obviously having an opportunity to play baseball here with the Phillies, winning a World Series here, these fans have supported us as players on the field, but they support us as well off the field. These people having that passion along with us is a great way for us to share and give back to this community and a great way for people to reach out and extend their hands with us to make a difference in this community. The connection will always be here. Not only did I grow up here, but I went to college here at St. Joe's. As a high school senior being at a World Series Parade and then being a player on a World Championship team with the Phillies, I feel like I've come full circle."

Karen Moyer echoed her husband's sentiments.

"We are very excited because this city and community have supported us and our mission since the day Jamie was traded. We raised over a million dollars in four events, so for us it made sense. We're super excited to be here."

 

 

The fact that Camp Erin's mission is to help kids who have lost loved ones was made prevalent throughout the evening. The most touching moment occurred when a clip from an ESPN special was shown featuring the Moyers and how Camp Erin originated. The camp is named after Erin Metcalf  of Woodinville, Washington. Erin died of liver cancer when she was just 17. The Moyers had met Erin several years earlier in 1998, and felt that a grief camp for children would be an appropriate tribute to Erin's memory.

When one of the Moyer's personal guests spoke to the crowd how Camp Erin helped her cope with her father's death, there weren't many dry eyes in the house, and it was obvious from the start of the evening that the Moyer's have a strong support system for their foundation.

Amy Holdsman from Mount Airy has admired the Moyer's philanthropic work for some time, and was glad to come out for the cause.

"I did a lot of research on the Moyer Foundation and I'm really impressed at what they do," said Holdsman. "I wanted to come check out their work and see what this event was all about. It feels incredible to be a part of it. Just amazing."

Recess Lounge's Marc Mattera and Ryan Dorsey were also on hand for the occasion. Dorsey, one of the event's coordinators, and was honored to help the Moyer's with the event.

"I really liked helping, and was honored to be asked to help. I jumped right on the opportunity and I was very excited about it," Dorsey says proudly."

Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez, some of Moyer's former Phillies teammates, came out to offer their support. Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos and his wife Julie were also in attendance.

A crowd of over 100 guests received discounts from Saks Fifth Avenue, and were treated to magic acts, raffles, and a performance by Philly native and R&B recording artist Vivian Green, Vivian Green photo: Joe Vallee Sr.who mixed some Christmas favorites in with some of her own songs. Raw Sushi, Tweed, Swanky Bubbles, Del Frisco’s, and Osteria and Amis were the restaurants providing the catering. Two framed jerseys of American League and National League Cy Young Award winners Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay (respectively), received a high bid of $3,500, with the proceeds going to The Moyer Foundation.

Although The Moyer Foundation took center stage on this night, it became obvious to all that the topic of Moyer's Tommy John surgery would eventually be brought to light. Moyer, whose left arm is still in a sling after Wednesday's surgery, doesn't see why a return to baseball at age 49 is out of the question.

"I just had surgery a few days ago and I feel pretty good. I'm going to listen to the doctors and rehab and see where it's gonna take me. I have every intent of getting through this rehab in a positive way and try to make a comeback in 2012," Moyer said optimistically.

"I still feel like I have the ability to pitch. The last time I pitched in the Dominican Republic I felt good. I felt like I was able to contribute there, and I felt up until I got hurt this past season I was able to contribute with the Phillies. I still have that passion to play. I enjoy it. For me, once I walk away, I'll never going to come back at this level, so I wanna get the most out of myself. It's been a great opportunity to be around most of the guys I've been able to be around. I think that's pretty special and I hold that close to my heart."

And what about the chance to reach 300 victories?

"For me that's a number that's pretty far down the road," he said. "Coming back healthy and contributing I think is the most important thing. Being a teammate and a team player is important. I think if I had the good fortune to play a few more years behind that, the potential for 300 could be there, but I realize that's at least three healthy years down the road."

Until then, Jamie and Karen Moyer's tireless commitment to The Moyer Foundation will pave many new roads for those who need them most.

For more information on Camp Erin, please visit  http://www.moyerfoundation.org/

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

Photos: Joe Vallee Sr. (josephv985@aol.com)