ATLANTA -- Though they call Atlanta home, Houston is a special place for Brian McCann and his wife, Ashley, who will forever remember the resolve the residents of this hurricane-stricken city showed before experiencing the thrill of celebrating a World Series championship.
A little more than a week after the Astros' Game 7 win, the McCanns returned to Atlanta and picked up their fight against childhood cancer. Ashley delivered a powerful speech during the Rally Foundation Benefit Bash held Friday night at downtown Atlanta's Georgia Aquarium. She referenced #HoustonStrong, likening the resolve shown by the Houston community after Hurricane Harvey to the determination displayed by the kids and families who are tested daily by some form of childhood cancer.
"Working with the Rally Foundation beats anything I've ever done in my career," Brian McCann said. "Just having a chance to work with these kids and their families, they are a true inspiration."
As the Astros progressed through the postseason, McCann received daily good luck messages from Rally Kids. They wanted to express support for catcher, who, for more than a decade, has supported the Rally Foundation, which was founded by Dean Crowe in 2005 to fund childhood cancer research.
Within a span of approximately two hours on Friday night, the Benefit Bash raised exactly $1 million. Chipper Jones, Freddie Freeman, Mark DeRosa, Jon Lester, Kris Medlen, Tanner Roark, Dan Uggla, Jonny Venters and Braves manager Brian Snitker were among the members of the baseball world who joined McCann at the event.
"This is what it's all about for me, giving us a platform to raise money," McCann said. "Dean Crowe has done an amazing job. I'm just happy to be a part of it."
During Friday night's event, Rally Kid Ethan D. delivered an optimistic speech about his drive to get back to acting and baseball after he was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma in March.
Matt Olson, Medlen, Peter Moylan and Nick Green were among the current and former Major Leaguers present for McCann's Celebrity Softball Game, which was played Saturday afternoon in suburban Atlanta. The focus of the game was Ethan D. and many of the other Rally Kids, who were given opportunities to participate either as hitters or baserunners.
"Everything about these events gets better every year," McCann said. "We raise more money every year, and I'm just so thankful to be a part of what Dean Crowe and the Rally Foundation do for these kids."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.