Twins outfielder is stepping up to the plate for LEMS, rare diseases

Home run challenge seeks to raise more than $150K for the rare disease community

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by Mary Chapman |

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Minnesota Twins outfielder Michael A. Taylor is stepping up to the plate on behalf of people with rare diseases like Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS).

The home run challenge, which seeks to raise more than $150,000 for the rare disease community, will support the nonprofit organization Uplifting Athletes, which encourages athletes and sports organizations to raise funds and support the rare disease community.

As part of Taylor’s campaign, supporters are asked to make a pledge for every homer the 32-year-old Florida native logs this season. He and his wife, Brianna, will match each donation up to $75,000.

“I’m excited to launch this campaign,” Taylor said in a news release. “I hope my friends, family, and fans will join me in this challenge so we can bring awareness to the 30 million Americans living with a rare disease.”

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Taylor was inspired to launch the challenge by his late sister, Danielle, who lived 20 “joy-filled” years with the rare genetic condition trisomy 18, which causes severe developmental delays.

“We are in a unique position to honor Danielle and so many other families affected by a rare diagnosis,” Taylor said. “While this is my first season with the Twins, I am proud to support Uplifting Athletes again so that a brighter future can exist for the over 10,000 rare diseases that still need an FDA-approved treatment. I will be giving my all on the diamond to support this cause. Together we can inspire hope.”

Many rare disorders lack approved medicines to specifically treat them. While there’s no cure for LEMS, there are treatments to manage its symptoms and improve patients’ quality of life.

Taylor, who’s in his first year with the Twins, came to the team as part of an off-season trade with the Kansas City Royals. He spent seven years with the Washington Nationals, where he made his Major League debut and won a World Series in 2019. Two years later, Taylor won a Gold Glove Award, which honors the best defenders at each position.

Those who want to support the challenge can visit Taylor’s site or make a pledge to Uplifting Athletes. Since its inception in 2007, the organization has harnessed “the power of sport” to raise more than $8 million toward rare disease awareness.