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Former Mariner Moyer's foundation helps kids cope with grief, addiction

Jamie Moyer, left, founder of the Moyer Foundation and a camper bump fists. The Moyer Foundation runs summer camps designed to help children cope with grief and addiction. (Credit: Moyer Foundation)

Jamie Moyer, left, founder of the Moyer Foundation and a camper bump fists. The Moyer Foundation runs summer camps designed to help children cope with grief and addiction. (Credit: Moyer Foundation) less

SEATTLE -- Mariners great Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen are back in Seattle Wednesday to host their 9th annual Champions for Children Luncheon.

The Moyer Foundation has helped nearly 22,000 kids over the last 15 years learn to cope with grief or addiction in their family. The couple hosts two summer camps in 54 locations across the United States and Canada.

“The mission of the Moyer Foundation is to provide comfort, hope, and healing to children who are affected by grief and addiction,” Moyer Foundation CEO Mary Fitzgerald said. “Camp is such a transformative place, no one forgets it, and everyone wants to be a part of that community.”

Camp Mariposa is for kids who live with an addicted family member. Camp Erin helps children ages 6-17 who are affected by the death of someone significant in their lives.

Jennifer Stuber is a mother of two. Her children went to Camp Erin after Jennifer’s husband, the father of their children, took his life in 2011.

“My kids both, I talked to them about their experience recently, and they both say the same thing. Camp lets them know that there are other people who care and that they are not alone in their grief, and I think those are two really important messages,” Stuber said. “It used to be the case where kids who have lost a parent, which is what happened in our case. Those kids often didn’t have a resource. And I think what’s so amazing about the Moyer Foundation is that they are changing the way families grieve in America and are making it OK to talk about grief and loss.”

Stuber is incredibly grateful the Moyer Foundation, which started in Seattle more than a decade ago. At the time, Jamie was playing for the Mariners.

“If you think of these kids and many other kids that are out there that are in need, not only here in the Northwest but around the country, they’re in unfortunate situations and some of them don’t have a voice. We felt like we are able to become a voice with and for these kids,” Jamie Moyer said. “You talk about legacy as a baseball player, that’s all fine and dandy, but what do you do beyond that? And that’s what we’ve been able to do in this community and throughout the country, is leave some sort of a legacy behind in helping children in need.”

“It’s hard not to get emotional. We’re parents of many. To understand what they’re going through, it’s really difficult,” Karen Moyer said of the campers. “But to know that they get to go to camp and have fun, and that they’re learning to heal and that they find hope. Things are normalized because they are around others that are going through what they are going through.” 

If you know of someone struggling with depression, they can call the national suicide prevention line at 1-800-273-8255.

The Champions for Children lunch is Wednesday at noon at the Washington State Convention Center. If you are interested in donating, volunteering, or learning more about the Moyer Foundation you can find more information on its website.

Copyright 2016 KING


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