It was a poignant moment when Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes placed the World Series trophy at the finish line of the Boston Marathon during the team’s victory parade on Nov. 2.
For Gomes, it also marked the beginning of what he hopes will be a long-term commitment to wheelchair competitors in the Marathon through a partnership with the Travis Roy Foundation.
“It was such a tragic day when it happened, the bombings, and you think about the people who were killed and injured,” Gomes said during a telephone interview. “I was sitting on a plane brainstorming and wondering what I could do. I want to help people be able to race.”
Gomes will work closely with the Roy Foundation to purchase racing wheelchairs for competitors in need. He started the program with a contribution of his own and is encouraging Sox fans to join him.
Donations can be made online at crowdrise.com/jonnygomes.
Gomes also helped convince one of his endorsers, Phillips Norelco, to contribute $10,000.
Gomes did his research, learning about Roy and the work his foundation does. The former Boston University hockey player was paralyzed from the neck down in 1995 only 11 seconds into his first game with the Terriers.
“I believe in what they’re doing and I jumped on board,” Gomes said. “If there are people who need help getting the equipment for the Marathon, we can do that. It’s a great cause.”
Gomes trimmed his iconic beard as part of a promotion for Phillips Norelco. He hopes that will raise awareness for his latest charitable cause.
“I’ve been fortunate to play in different cities and Boston has been special because of everything that happened to our team last season,” Gomes said. “This is a way I can give back.”