Minutes before game time on Friday night, local kids ages 4 to 15 who were battling cancer lined up along the Phillies’ first base line. Members of the front office and members of the Nemours Child Health System stood in the center of the field, holding a large yellow ribbon to honor those who have fought or are fighting childhood cancer.

Sean Kennedy, a 6-year-old Phillies fan battling cancer, stood at home plate to lead the bases. Rhys Hoskins guided him along the first baseline. He rounded second, touched all five Washington Nationals players on the third base line and hosted the evening’s special guest at home plate: first lady Jill Biden.

Biden was in attendance for the Phillies’ sixth straight childhood cancer awareness night. It was her first visit to Citizens Bank Park since her husband, President Joe Biden, took office in 2020.

Biden has been an advocate for cancer research and prevention since 1993, when four of her friends were diagnosed with breast cancer. Her stepson, Beau Biden, also died of brain cancer aged 46 in 2015.

After Kennedy crossed home plate, the national anthem played. The Phillies stood along the first base line, many of them flanked by kids battling cancer. Kyle Schwarber lingered on the court after the ceremony concluded to sign bats and jerseys and hand out a few more high fives. Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos were also slow to sign a few jerseys, bats and casts.

The ceremony ended with the Phillie Phanatic presenting Biden with a gold scarf that read “Go Gold.” The gold ribbon is the international symbol for childhood cancer.

Biden is a longtime Phillies fan. She grew up in Willow Grove and was present at the ballpark every October during the Phillies’ five-year playoff series from 2007 to 2011. She was present at the 2008 World Series while her husband campaigned for his teammate of then former President Barack Obama.

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“(She) is a Philadelphia girl, from her belt buckle to her shoe soles, and if I’m for anyone but the Phillies, I’ll be sleeping alone in Lincoln’s room,” the president joked. Biden to Los Angeles Dodgers players during their visit. at the White House in 2021.

The Phillies will continue their childhood cancer awareness efforts ahead of Saturday’s game against the Nationals when they host a fashion show for children from the Kisses for Kyle Foundation, which helps area families battling childhood cancer. . The show will take place in The Yard at Citizens Bank Park.