Baseballs and bats, gloves and caps – they are flying out of closets and garages because it's springtime – time for baseball! Maya Angelou is not a baseball player, but she certainly is a poet and author – a voice of contemporary literature. What does she say about baseball? "I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt in both hands. You need to be able to throw something back."

There is a concept in our culture, Pay it Forward, that involves doing a good turn for someone without anticipating repayment. Hopefully, Paying it Forward, starts a chain reaction of good deeds.

Not only is the Four Corners known for competitive baseball, it is known for being bighearted. Everywhere you look, you see wonderful acts of generosity. Posters line business windows advertising a benefit concert or supper. San Juan United Way raises dollars to be allotted to community service organizations. College students perform construction projects for the elderly while civic groups actively support the youth.

San Juan Medical Foundation gives another opportunity to Pay It Forward. The Foundation is a community-based, independent, non-profit organization committed to enhancing health care in the Four Corners region. As well as cooperating with the San Juan Regional Medical Center in supporting health care, the Foundation offers patient assistance programs, including: Cathy Lincoln Memorial Cancer Fund, Riley Industrial Men's Health Fund and Hope Children's Fund.

On May 3, there will be a Children with Hope Walk at Animas Park, in Farmington. This family activity will benefit Hope Children's Fund. There are outstanding physicians in San Juan County, who sometimes refer youngsters for specialized pediatric treatments in oncology or neurology or cardiology at major medical centers. Hope Children's Fund assists these young travelers with out of pocket expenses.

Kim is 5 years old. For the past two years she has required ongoing chemotherapy at Children's Hospital Albuquerque. Mary was born prematurely. She spent the first 60 days of her life in Children's Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. At age of 14, Bobby has already had a transplant. He travels to San Francisco for follow-up treatment.

Let's Pay It Forward. Coach our children to not "go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands." Train them to be "able to throw something back." Children helping children – that's the idea behind the Children with Hope Walk, a one mile family activity on Saturday, May 3 at Animas Park. Registration at 9 a.m. ($5). The walk begins at 10 a.m. Learn how your school can participate. Find out how you can be a sponsor. Visit or call 505-609-6244.



Leslie Fitz is with the San Juan Medical Foundation in Farmington.