Throwing the First Pitch

Mollie Carter, center, was accompanied by Variety CEO Jan Albus, left, when she threw out the first pitch to then-Cardinal Erik Komatsu during a game at Busch Stadium in April. Mollie and her mother Sheila Carter attended the game.

Submitted Photo.

Mollie Carter of Union, was one of the happiest 9-year-olds in St. Louis on April 19, when she visited Busch Stadium for what was not only her first baseball game, but a once-in-a-lifetime experience that not many people get to have.

She beamed as she threw the first pitch at the St. Louis Cardinals game to then-Cardinal Erik Komatsu and then was congratulated by Fredbird.

Mollie threw that pitch from a wheelchair partially paid for by Variety, the Children’s Charity of St. Louis. Mollie has been a Variety child since 2006, receiving medical equipment including the wheelchair, leg braces, a therapeutic bike and a walker. She has also taken advantage of Variety programs like Adventure Camp and family outings.

Mollie was born with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder caused by abnormal development of, or damage to, the motor control centers of the brain.

The first pitch was made possible by Bank of America, a Variety major partner. Pat Mercurio, president of Bank of America - Missouri, sits on the Variety Board of Directors and is a past board president.

In addition, the bank donated its luxury suite and another party suite to Variety for the April 19 game. Also donating its suite on that day was World Wide Technology. Several Variety families, including Mollie’s, were able to enjoy the game from the comfort of these suites.

The day at the ballpark kicked off Variety Week, which went on to raise a record-shattering $4.8 million to help local children with disabilities. The week included the Runway Lights Fashion Show, a Call-a-Thon for Kids, Imo’s for Kids Day and Young Variety’s Night of the Rising Stars.

The grand finale of Variety Week was the Dinner With the Stars black-tie gala, hosted by Joe Buck and starring Diana Ross. That night alone raised almost $4 million for Variety.

About Variety

For 80 years, Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis has helped thousands of children with disabilities say “I can” by providing them with vital medical equipment, as well as educational, therapeutic and recreational programs such as the annual Adventure Camp and Variety the Children’s Charity Theatre.

An international leader in fundraising, Variety the Children’s Charity also distributes grants to more than 80 qualified agencies throughout the St. Louis area to fund programs and/or services that directly impact the lives of children with physical and mental disabilities. David Steward, chairman and founder of World Wide Technology, Inc., is the organization’s president.

For more information on Variety, including upcoming events and volunteer opportunities, people may visit