Gardner won't just be thinking about the game when he takes the field Friday night — he'll be thinking about kids with cancer

When the Yankees’ Brett Gardner takes the field Friday night against the Boston Red Sox, he won’t just be thinking about beating his team’s biggest rival, but also about the kids with cancer from Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital that he’s invited to the game as his special guests.

Gardner, the team’s All-Star left fielder, will wear two sets of specialized cleats by New Balance — he’ll switch pairs during the game — that will go up for bidding at 7 p.m. to benefit the hospital’s Pediatric Cancer Research Center, which is dedicated to helping kids with cancer. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Brett GardnerCredit: New York Yankees
Credit: New York Yankees

To sweeten the auction, the Yankees will donate four tickets and a meet and greet with Gardner on the field, along with his autographed and customized cleats.

“We’ve designed some special cleats for me to wear on Friday night to auction off to raise money to fund childhood cancer research,” says Gardner, 33, who, along with his wife, Jessica, visited kids and their families at Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Pediatric Research Center on Tuesday, where he signed baseballs and gave out gift bags.

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That day, as a surprise for Gardner, the kids all secretly autographed a pair of the special cleats. Those shoes, however, he’s going to keep for himself.

“As a mom of two little boys, (Miller, 6, and Hunter, 8) it’s especially hard and very emotional to see any child sick much less battling cancer,” says Jessica Gardner. “These kids and their families go through so much and are so strong. Our hope is to help raise the awareness of the need for more funding for pediatric cancer research so that no child will be told, ‘You have cancer.’ No child should ever have cancer.”

The auction goes live at 7 p.m. Friday. Click here to participate.